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Sing-along, Santa highlight Batavia holiday festival

Updated: December 24, 2012 6:48AM

BATAVIA — It’ll begin to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Batavia, as the city ushers in the season with the traditional “Celebration of Lights” festival on Sunday.

Families are invited to the holiday lights festival from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Batavia Riverwalk. Activities include a community sing-a-long, tree lighting ceremony, story hour and arrival of Santa Claus.

New this year, the city will host a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m. on North River Street for people to experience the new streetscape improvements and dine at some of the restaurants before heading to the festivities. North River Street underwent major reconstruction over the summer from Wilson to State streets and is the first in a series of streetscape projects the city is planning.

At the Riverwalk, Batavia business owner Craig Foltos will encourage people to join in on singing holiday favorites at 5:45 p.m. prior to the arrival of the man in the red suit at 6 p.m. Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke will welcome Santa and invite the community in a traditional countdown to light the tree. The Batavia High School Madrigal Choir will also perform carols during the night.

Santa will meet with youngsters at 6:15 p.m. in his Warming House near the fireplace at the Peg Bond Center. Story time will be from 6:15 to 7 p.m. at the Gustafson Research Center, in the lower level of the Batavia Depot Museum.

There also will be tractor-pulled wagon rides with a donation of a canned food item or $1 with proceeds to benefit the Batavia Food Pantry. Free roasted chestnuts will be available and the Batavia Teen Center will sell hot dogs and hot chocolate.

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