Medina lights Christmas tree at Rotary Park to kick off holiday celebration

Photos by Tom Rivers: David and Trudi Schwert are pictured in Medina’s Rotary Park this evening after a tree-lighting celebration. The Schwerts will serve as grand marshals of the 12th annual Parade of Lights on Saturday, which this year will be a reverse parade at Medina Central School, with motorists driving by stationary floats.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 November 2020 at 9:02 pm

David and Trudi Schwert honored at tree-lighting, will serve as parade grand marshals on Saturday

MEDINA – The village held a low-key tree-lighting ceremony this evening at Rotary Park to avoid drawing a big crowd to the park at the corner of Main and East Center streets.

But the event was still a chance to show appreciation for David and Trudi Schwert. The couple moved to Medina in 2010 and immediately became involved in community causes, including helping to plan the annual Parade of Lights. They would raise money for the event, distribute cards promoting the event in the community, and help with staging the floats at the Olde Pickle Factory before they went on a route in front of several thousand people.

This evening’s tree-lighting was the first they had been to because that event is normally just before the start of the parade. They couldn’t be at those tree lightings because they were helping to organize the order of the floats and lighted fire trucks.

Mrs. Schwert served as a parade marshal, walking on the route on Park Avenue, helping to make sure the floats were moving at a steady pace before they turned onto Main Street.

The couple will serve as a parade grand marshals on Saturday, doing a ribbon-cutting at 5 p.m. and they driving the first car on the parade route through the Medina school campus, starting at the elementary school and going past six parking lots with floats until going past the high school. It’s a “reverse parade” that ends on Maple Ridge Road.

Trudi Schwert, right, said the Medina community has been very welcoming to her and her husband. She spoke during a tree-lighting ceremony this evening. Jim Hancock is second from right.

The Schwerts aren’t part of the parade committee this year. They praised the organizers for finding a way to keep the event going during a pandemic with restrictions on crowd sizes. This time there won’t be a crowd. Everyone will pass by the floats in vehicles.

“It really is a brilliant idea,” Mrs. Schwert said.

She and her husband have been married 55 years. They raised three children. They both worked at Alfred State College with Mr. Schwert a biology professor and Mrs. Schwert working as a director of academic advising.

When they retired from Alfred, they bought a campgrounds in Houghton. They ran that for 15 years before selling that business. They were looking for a small town near Rochester and decided on Medina.

“We came to visit on a Saturday and everybody who passed us said hello,” Mrs. Schwert said. “People were so friendly to us.”

The two wanted to involved in the community and joined the effort to put on the big parade. Mr. Schwert also has been active on the board of trustees for the Lee-Whedon Memorial Library and Mrs. Schwert is very involved at the First Presbyterian Church of Medina.

The tall Christmas tree was lighted up for the first time this evening for the holiday season. Takeform in Medina made the letters along the edge of the park with Christmas messages.

Jim Hancock, chairman of the Parade of Lights, said the Schwerts and other volunteers have been essential in the annual event.

“It takes a whole village,” Hancock said. “They have been with us from the very beginning.”

Saturday’s “reverse parade” will include about 20 floats and decorated vehicles. Hancock said the parade committee wanted to keep the event going, even though it will look different this year.

“It’s going to be a nice array of trucks and floats,” Hancock said. “It will be a nice diversion with so many things being cancelled this year.”