Tonawanda News

December 8, 2013

Dozens of local shops open their doors for annual Winter Walk

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Shoppers and their children gathered in the Twin Cities Saturday to browse in local stores and celebrate the holidays as part of the annual Winter Walk event.

Kay Learned, an organizer of the event and the owner of Hodgepodge in North Tonawanda, said her shop was packed all day.

“It’s been absolutely great,” she said. “I’m sure all the other merchants have had a busy day, too.” 

A committee works throughout the year to plan the retail event, which features dozens of holiday events, including hay rides, cookie decorating, a petting zoo and breakfast with Santa. Dozens of local shops welcome the extra customers, and shoppers are able to find holiday items and decor that aren’t available at the big box stores.

Although the snow from the recent storm melted in recent days, walk attendees were able to get in the holiday spirit with the help of a light snowfall in the afternoon and festive music from a street organ.

“It’s been very great, we’ve been very happy with the traffic,” Lynn Chabriel, the owner of Roselight Interiors, one of the City of Tonawanda shops that took part in Saturday’s event. “We were able to publicize the event early, and that makes a lot of difference for us in it being successful.”

The Herschell Carrousel Museum also welcomed a large crowd of parents and their young children, who enjoyed a play, lunch with Santa, a s’mores station and crafts.

Woodcarvers were also on hand to show of their craft.

“It’s a very good day here, it’s fun for us,” Museum Director Rae Proefrock said. “We work very hard to make the museum the best it can be, and this is our chance to share it with the kids.”

Kids also got the chance to ride the carrousel with Santa, who spent each and every go-around meeting each youngster.

“I just try to make it their day,” Santa said. “I get a kick out of the kids. I try to get them to sing Christmas carols, I ask them if they’ve been good. You just try to get them to smile.”

Kristin Warham, who brought her 2-year-old son to the museum, said it was the perfect holiday event for kids.

“It’s small enough that it’s not too overwhelming. It’s just small town fun,” she said. “We had a great time, and there were so many activities for him.”

An art walk was also added to this year’s event, Learned said. Project 308, the River Art Gallery and the Carnegie Art Center all opened their doors and held special events.

Project 308 held its second annual trunk show, which featured 20 artists and vendors with wares including paintings, prints, terrariums, blown-glass, jewelry, baked goods and sand-blasted wine glasses.

The Carnegie Art Center held the “Winter Wonderland,” an interactive theater performance by the Wondermakers, and a special exhibit with work by 30 artists.

The River Art Gallery also opened a new exhibit, “The Art of Giving,” and held a local authors’ book-signing event.

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter @JessicaLBagley.