Medina

Lee-Whedon’s children’s librarian retiring

Posted 14 December 2020 at 3:32 pm

Suzanne McAllister would dress up in characters to make programs more fun for kids

File photo by Tom Rivers: Suzanne McAllister, the children’s librarian at lee-Whedon Memorial Library, passes out some Santa Dust for the kids to take home on Nov. 30, 2018. McAllister organized the annual Santa pajama storytime event at the library.

Press Release, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library in Medina

MEDINA – The Lee-Whedon Memorial Library would like to announce the retirement of “Mrs. Mac” – our beloved Children’s Librarian for the past 22 years.

Suzanne McAllister has worked at the library since 1996, first as a library aide and then as the Children’s Librarian. Mrs. Mac, as she is known to her many, many children, has touched the lives of thousands of children every year.

Suzanne’s personality and passion were infectious – her story time programs often filled with laughter and smiles. Throughout the years Suzanne has contributed immensely to the library family whether dressing up as Clifford the Big Red Dog or Doctor Who for LibraryCon. She organized teddy bear sleepovers, invited all sorts of wildlife into the building, and rode out into the community on her bike-mobile to give away books.

Due to Covid-19, a large party to honor her cannot be held. However, the community is welcome to come in this week to show their appreciation. Please join us in wishing Suzanne the very best in the next chapter of her life!

Medina reports 6th firefighter test positive for Covid

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 December 2020 at 6:53 pm

MEDINA – The Fire Department had a sixth career firefighter test positive for Covid-19 last weekend. The department on Dec. 4 first reported that five firefighters were out with Covid.

Of the six who have tested positive, five have shown symptoms, but are recovering and no one needed hospitalization, the Fire Department posted on its Facebook page.

“The first five are set to be coming off their isolation period soon and will be coming back to work as per Health Department regulations,” the Fore Department stated. “The sixth firefighter will be off a little more time due to testing positive later than the others.”

The department has 22 full-time staff that responds to nearly 3,000 calls a year.

“We need everyone to realize this isn’t over for us or anyone else,” the Fire Department stated on Facebook. “Maintain social distancing, wear masks and wash your hands frequently to help prevent contracting this. Even if you do all of that, you can be exposed.”

The department thanked the community for its support while the six staff are out due to Covid.

“The emergency calls didn’t stop,” the department stated. “We handled a multitude of calls during this time, some extremely critical and complex. We couldn’t have done this without the remaining members stepping up and pitching in to fill the absences. Once again, teamwork and cooperation made our department shine.”

Medina schools getting ‘dangerously close’ to going remote-only

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 December 2020 at 4:47 pm

MEDINA – The school district has faced an increase in the number of students and staff testing positive for Covid-19.

Those cases and the resulting mandatory quarantines for close contacts has the district near a shortage of staff for providing in-person instruction, Mark Kruzynski, the district superintendent, wrote in a letter to the community today.

The district reported five new confirmed cases today, with two students and one staff member in the high school, and two students in the middle school.

Medina has had 13 students and 12 teachers/staff test positive for Covid this school year, according to a state website tracking the cases in public schools. The numbers on the state website were last updated on Dec. 9.

“With the rising number of mandatory quarantining of students and staff members in our district, Medina Central School is dangerously close to not being able to have enough staff to conduct in-person learning,” Kruzynski wrote in his letter today. “If we are unable to conduct in-person learning in the future, parents will be notified by our Remind system, and by a robe-call. Please make sure your student brings their Chromebook home daily, ‘just in case.’”

Lyndonville is going to remote-only next week through the holiday break due to staff members being quarantined due to possible Covid exposure. Lyndonville plans to return to in-person classes on Jan. 4.

Construction work resumes on hotel in Medina

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Contractors are back on site for this hotel on Maple Ridge Road, which will be called Cobblestone Inn and Suites.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 9 December 2020 at 8:31 am

MEDINA – Construction work has resumed on a hotel being built on Maple Ridge Road.

The Wisconsin-based Bri-Mark is the company building the 58-room hotel in the Medina Business Park. The hotel was previously scheduled to open last March, until a work stoppage in December 2019. Then the pandemic hit and construction was not resumed.

“I’m very excited they are back and working,” said Gabrielle Barone, vice president of business development for Orleans Economic Development.

No opening date has been set, she said.

The hotel was 80 percent complete when work stopped.

The new hotel, which will be named Cobblestone Inn and Suites, will be owned by Medina Hospitality.

Cobblestone Suites previously told the Orleans Hub that the company has carved a niche with a “mid-scale product” that isn’t an economy hotel or a “mom and pop” operation.

The company has about 150 hotels open or under construction in small towns. They range in size from 31 to 73 rooms, with 45 being the average.

Cobblestone Suites will be Orleans County’s first branded hotel. The Orleans EDA worked for about five years to bring the project to the community, seeing the hotel as a way to boost tourism revenue and keep visitors in the county longer, which should help local businesses.

Workers load furniture through a window of the hotel. Construction stopped a year and then a restart was slowed by the pandemic.

5K organizers use race proceeds to buy meals for hospital, nursing home staff

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2020 at 8:40 pm

Provided photos: Teresa Wilkins (left), Holiday for the Holidays 5K race co-leader, is pictured with Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center Administrator Martin MacKenzie and Roseanne Velesko, one of the social workers at Orchard.

MEDINA – Teresa Wilkins, one of the organizers for the Home for the Holidays 5K in Medina, had meals delivered to nursing home and healthcare staff today and on Monday.

Wilkins and Debbie Tompkins are co-leaders of the 5K that was held on Nov. 28. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the race was capped at 50 participants.

There were 48 runners for the event, plus another 11 who did it virtually at another location or time.

Wilkins and Tompkins decided to use some of the funds raised from the race to buy lunch for the healthcare and nursing home workers, who are on the front lines of the Covid-19 pandemic providing compassionate care for the community.

Teresa Wilkins delivers gift cards to Nicci Nicholson, a social worker at Medina Memorial Hospital. The gift cards will cover a meal for the weekend staff at the North Wing.

Proceeds from the race paid for a pizza lunch for the staff at Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center and the North Wing at Medina Memorial Hospital.

“We felt that this year we should honor our Hometown Heroes, and that the staff at both facilities have been impacted greatly this year,” Wilkins said. “It is small way to say ‘Thank you’ to them, and a lift of encouragement that they are doing a wonderful job. It also hits close to home since my own mother is a resident in North Wing, and the staff have become like family to her with all of the restrictions that are in place.”

Food was delivered to the North Wing staff on Monday for lunch and then for the night staff. The weekend shift will also get a meal.

Today, a pizza meal was delivered for three different shifts at Orchard Rehabilitation & Nursing Center.

Cusimanos’s Pizzeria in Medina donated four large pizzas as part of the effort.

Santa Hat Drive raises more than $4K for MAAC, Community Action

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 December 2020 at 9:09 am

Funds will go for toys, gifts for local families

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA — The leaders of the fourth annual toy drive met on Monday to share proceeds from the effort with the Medina Area Association of Churches and Community Action of Orleans & Genesee. Pictured from left include Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoo, which sold calendars and collected funds for the toy drive; Sherry Tuohey, leader of the Red Barrel program for MAAC; Annette Finch, director of emergency services for Community Action; brothers Wyatt and Lukin Szatkowski (in front); and Andrew and Sara Szatkowski.

This year the toy drive was shifted to a “Santa Hat Drive” with money collected at the reverse Parade of Lights on Nov. 28. Andrew Szatkowski has spearheaded the one-day drive. In past years, people would drop off toys at Canalside Tattoo. This year, Szatkowski shifted to collecting funds at the parade, with the money then turned over to MAAC and Community Action.

Andrew, his wife and two sons collected money at the reverse Parade of Lights and spent many hours rolling the donated coins.

The Santa Hat Drive collected about $2,000 at the parade. Szatkowski said another $300 was sent electronically. People also stopped by Canalside Tattoo and gave $740 to the effort.

Canalside owner Shawn Ramsey also has been selling whimsical calendars of his staff. Erin Townsend took the photos for the calendar, which include golden tickets with discounts on tattoos. Those calendars have raised $1,300 for the toy drive.

The total proceeds for the toy drive added up to $4,429. On Monday, Szatkowski presented Community Action with $3,543 and the MAAC with $886.

The Medina Area Association of Churches has 41 red barrels out on the community for people to place toys. The red barrels will be out until Wednesday. The MAAC will then organize all those donations for more than 50 families that have signed up for the holiday effort. The money from the toy drive will allow MAAC to purchase some items and presents for the local families and senior citizens. About 20 senior citizens will receive food boxes with personal care items.

Sherry Tuohey, director of the program for MAAC, said Medina families can contact her at (585) 356-8346 to see if they can be included in the program.

Community Action will be serving at least 135 families in Albion, Holley, Kendall and Lyndonville with its annual holiday program. Instead of collecting and organizing presents, Annette Finch said the agency will instead be raising money for gift cards for the families. That way volunteers and staff aren’t handling so many items during the Covid-19 pandemic. The families can use the gift cards to pick the presents for their children.

Szatkowski praised the community for giving to the cause during a difficult year when residents and small businesses are feeling financial strain.

5 Medina firefighters on quarantine after testing positive for Covid

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 December 2020 at 2:47 pm

MEDINA – Five of the career firefighters in the Medina Fire Department are on quarantine until Dec. 12 after testing positive for Covid-19.

That still leaves Medina with 16 firefighters to respond to EMS and fire calls, enough to handle all of the shifts until the department is back at full strength, said Lt. Steve Cooley.

One of the firefighters lost his sense of smell, which has been a leading indicator if someone has Covid. That prompted the department to be tested on Wednesday.

Of the 21 Medina firefighters tested for Covid, five results came back positive. Four of the firefighters have symptoms. The five who tested positive hadn’t been in contact with the public doing their official duties the previous 48 hours of testing positive, Cooley said.

The fire department feels fortunate to have made it this far without any confirmed cases among the staff, given their frequent responses to assist people with illnesses.

“We made it 8 full months,” Cooley said. “It’ a miracle we made it this far with the amount of interactions with have the public who have it.”

The Medina firefighters have been responding to more calls of people suffering from Covid, including several with severe symptoms.

“We’re seeing an increase in the community in the numbers,” Cooley said. “Our thoughts are with those families.”

The department has been doing temperature checks for firefighters when they report to work since March, and requiring them to stay home if they have any symptoms.

The Medina FD also will be increasing its cleaning and disinfection procedures with ambulances and equipment.

“We would like to thank all our partners in public safety and all those that have reached out to us offering assistance,” Cooley said.

Winners announced from reverse Parade of Lights

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 1 December 2020 at 2:31 pm

Medina Railroad Museum repeats as grand champion

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Medina Railroad Museum was named grand prize winner of Saturday’s 12th annual Parade of Lights. There were about 20 displays in the parade.

MEDINA – Winners of Saturday’s Parade of Lights have been announced by the parade committee, chaired by Jim Hancock.

For the second year in a row, Medina Railroad Museum was the Grand Prize winner for their float of a lighted railroad station.

“This year was quite different from previous years,” Hancock said. “We were so thankful to have as many entries as we did.”

Because of the Covid pandemic and restrictions on crowds, the Parade of Lights Committee came up with the idea for a reverse parade. Floats were stationed throughout the Medina Central School Campus, while vehicles drove through and viewed them.

Orleans County Tourism, which had a fishing-themed float in the “parade,” estimated 1,800 cars passed through the school grounds. Cars started lining up before 4:30 p.m., in anticipation of the 5 p.m. start.

Traffic filled village streets from Oak Orchard and Park Avenue to the Pickle Factory, Gwinn Street, West Avenue and Main Street, at times a steady stream through intersections and across the railroad tracks.

When it became evident all the cars could not make it through by the 8 p.m. closing time, float participants agreed to stay until everyone had seen the parade. This took until 8:45 p.m.

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, the following prizes were awarded:

Best in Class – Not for Profit: Knights-Kaderli Memorial

Fire Company: Middleport Fire Department

Service Clubs: Little Bits 4-H Club

Business: Party Tents Plus

Religious: Grace Baptist Church

Other: Orleans County Tourism

Littlest Elf Award: Cub Pack 18

Littlest Elf Award: Cobblestone Girl Scouts.

Star Award: Red Rose Landscaping.

Santa’s Pick: Parker’s Pit.

The East Shelby Volunteer Fire Company was among the Community Spirit Award winners.

Community Spirit Awards – Case-Nic Cookies, Calvary Tabernacle, Shelby Fire Company, East Shelby Fire Company, Orleans Community Health/Surgical Unit, Medina Lions Club and Canal Village Farmer’s Market.

Each winner will receive a cash award and a plaque.

“If it wasn’t for these organizations/people, we wouldn’t have had a parade this year,” Hancock said. “They are all winners.”

Medina businesses, homes urged to enter ‘Village of Lights’ contest

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2020 at 12:42 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA — These homes on Gwinn Street in Medina are lighted up on Saturday night. Medina celebrated its Olde Tyme Christmas on Saturday and wants to continue the festivities with a contest for businesses and residences who decorate for the holidays.

There will be seven categories in the contest, which is open to businesses and homes in the village. Entry forms should be submitted by Nov. 30 with the decorations in place by Dec. 7. Click here to see an entry form and click here to see the rules for the contest. Only decorations on the front face and front lawn of houses will be judged.

Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Christmas Spirit – Traditional ($50)
  • Christmas Spirit – Innovative ($50)
  • Most Whimsical ($50)
  • Best Use of Lights ($50)
  • Probably Visible from Space ($50)
  • Best Business – Christmas Spirit ($50)
  • Best Business – Community Spirit ($50)
  • Grand Champion – $200.

This house on Gwinn Street already is packed with decorations and lights.

Many of the downtown businesses have their storefronts decorated for the holidays including Della’s Chocolates.

The Book Shoppe also has a display in its front window.

Artist nears finish of large mural of flowers in Medina

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 November 2020 at 9:20 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – Chris Piontkowski of Cheektowaga is nearly done with a mural on a cinder block building on Proctor Place, a one-lane road that starts near Rudy’s Diner. He is shown on Saturday afternoon.

Piontkowski is working on the fourth large-scale mural in Medina since July. The address for the flower mural is listed as 428-436 Main St. It is on the opposite side of a building that includes the “Canalligator” mural.

Piontkowski first applied gray primer on the wall. He then put geometric patterns and then painted local, native species of pollinator flowers.

Piontkowski, 34, said he will be back on Saturday to put the finishing touches on the project.

This is how the wall looked before Piontkowski went to work on it.

The Form Foundation spearheaded the effort for the four new murals. Besides the one by Piontkowski and the Canalligator, Chuck Tingley painted “Fake It Til You Make It!” on the back of 410 Main St. Tingley painted a traveler joined by dog and a cat on a journey.

Julian Montague, an artist from Buffalo, also painted a mural of geometric characters on two walls of a gym at the corner of Pearl Street and West Avenue.

Photos from the ‘Reverse’ Parade of Lights

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2020 at 9:21 pm

Medina’s popular parade finds a way to continue during Covid-19 pandemic

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The Grinch joined the display at Parker’s Pit in Middleport during today’s 12th annual Parade of Lights in Medina. This year the event was a “reverse parade” with the floats and displays stationary at the Medina Central School campus.

Covid-19 restrictions prevented a large crowd from gathering in the downtown and on Park Avenue. This time spectators were limited to passing by inside vehicles.

Shelby firefighters, including Zach Petry up high, decorate a fire truck at about 4:30, before the start of the parade at 5. They were one of 20 floats or decorated fire trucks in the parade. That is down from the 35-40 that are usually featured in the parade.

Shelby and Medina used their ladder trucks to hold up this giant American flag at the start of the parade.

There were some complaints on the Parade of the Lights Facebook page about a wait of an hour or more with traffic bottled up in the village. Other commenters appreciated the chance to attend a parade and holiday celebration with so many community events cancelled since March due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Mary Lou Tuohey, left, and her daughter Nicole continued their streak of participating in all 12 parades with Case-Nic Cookies.

Members of the Cobblestone Service Unit of the local Girl Scouts get their float ready for the parade. They have been consistent participants for several years. They were grateful the temperatures were above freezing, unlike in many previous years.

This group was part of the display for Party Tents Plus. They posed for a group photo before the start of the parade at 5. The parade lasted until 8 p.m.

The Surgical Services Department at Orleans Community Health created this display to thank the community for its donations and support.

The Szatkowski family – from left, Wyatt, mom Sara, Lukin and dad Andrew – passed out stickers and collected money for the fourth annual toy drive. This year instead of toys the collection of money will go to Community Action and the Medina Area Association of Churches for their holiday efforts with local children and families. MAAC is doing a toy drive and Community Action is giving gift cards to families.

The Medina Railroad Museum, last year’s grand prize winner, was back for the reverse parade this year. The winners in several categories could be announced on Sunday.

Lynne Menz of the Orleans County Tourism Department used plenty of duct tape on the tourism float.

Medina library closed until Dec. 7 to allow for cleaning

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2020 at 1:47 pm

MEDINA – Lee-Whedon Memorial Library announced it will be closing its building to the public until Dec. 7 due to possible exposure of Covid-19 at the library.

There are also rising number of Covid-19 cases in the community. The building at 620 West Ave. will be off-limits through Dec. 5, with a planned reopening on Dec. 7.

“We will be disinfecting the facility and staff will be tested prior to reopening,” according to a statement from Kristine Mostyn, Library Director, and David Schwert, Board President. “You can still borrow electronic books and movies during this time. We look forward to seeing you in the library soon.”

Proceeds from #MedinaStrong shirts shared with OCH Foundation, Office for Aging

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 November 2020 at 9:09 am

Photo by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The leaders of the #MedinaStrong shirt effort have shared the proceeds from sales of the shirts. The Orleans Community Health Foundation received $2,580 in the spring and then another $1,000 on Friday. The Office for the Aging received $1,000 on Friday.

Pictured from left include Melissa Blanar, director of the Orleans County Office for the Aging; Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoo; Scott Robinson, president of Medina Area Partnership and co-owner of the Shirt Factory Café; Chris Kozody, co-owner of Shirt Factory Café and originator of #MedinaStrong; and Heather Smith, director of the OCH Foundation.

Chris Kozody and Scott Robinson, co-owners of the Shirt Factory Café in Medina along with Scott’s wife Alix Gilman, were considering how to encourage the community back in late March. That’s when many businesses and the schools were closed to in-person learning or in-person customers due to the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions from the state to slow the spread.

Kozody and the Robinsons thought “#MedinaStrong” would be a good rallying cry for the community, encouraging residents and businesses to stay positive during a tough time.

The Shirt Factory hosted a #MedinaStrong cocktail party through Facebook live in late March with about 50 people tuning in, including former residents who moved to Washington, DC and Florida.

The #MedinaStrong message was connecting with residents. Kozody made an 8-foot-long “#MedinaStrong” sign that he put in the back of his pickup truck and used for deliveries.

Provided photos: Scott Robinson and Chris Kozody are pictured in the spring with an 8-foot “#MedinaStrong” sign Kozody had in his truck, which he used for Shirt Factory deliveries.

Robinson, president of Medina Area Partnership, saw the momentum with the message.

Shawn Ramsey, owner of Canalside Tattoo, was shut down in the spring due to the state restrictions. He also saw power in “#MedinaStrong.”

Kozody, Robinson and Ramsey decided to have T-shirts made with the message with the proceeds going to a local organization that serves the community.

The first shirts were red and 200 went quickly. Ramsey sold many from his Canalside website. He made frequent trips to the Post Office, sending shirts to former residents who have moved out-of-state.

Those shirts were a sell-out and a second batch of shirts, in blue, were made and all 120 of those are gone. The proceeds from the first group of shirts went solely to the OCH Foundation with profit from the second group of shirts split between the Foundation and the Office for the Aging.

The OCH Foundation received $3,580 total from the shirt sales. Heath Smith, Foundation director, said the money will be used to help Orleans Community Health with some of its Covid-19 expenses.

The Office for the Aging received $1,000 and Melissa Blanar, director of the OFA, said it will be used for the Meals on Wheels program, which has seen a 15 percent increase since March.

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.”

Medina will be busy on Saturday for Olde Tyme Christmas celebration

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 27 November 2020 at 9:25 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: Cobblestone The Girl Scouts in the Cobblestone Service Unit won the “Littlest Elf Award” for their float in the Nov. 24, 2018 parade.

MEDINA – In spite of the Covid pandemic, the village of Medina has found ways to celebrate their annual Christmas in Medina, scheduled on Saturday.

While the annual Christmas in Medina will have a different look this year, there will be a celebration on Saturday, which will conclude with the Parade of Lights in a reverse format.

Cindy Robinson and Kathy Blackburn are the annual chairs of the day-long event in Medina, which will begin with the Home for the Holidays 5K at 9 a.m. That event is sold out.

Residents are invited to join merchants for Shop Small Saturday, with specials being offered by many local small town merchants.

One local shopper is Karen Sawicz, owner of the Orleans Hub and Lake Country Pennysaver, who prefers to shop as much as possible with small local merchants in Orleans County, because she believes they are the backbone of the county in providing jobs as well as goods and services.

Shopping local and supporting small town businesses is crucial to their existence, especially with the hardships caused by the pandemic.

Due to Covid restrictions, visits with Santa on Saturday will be at the Senior Center on West Avenue this year. Children and parents can enter through one door and exit through the other, thereby adhering to social distancing. Masks will be required and there will be no sitting on Santa’s lap this year.

Santa and Mrs. Claus’ schedule for their appearances at the Santa House in Rotary Park throughout the holiday season will be posted on Medina’s Olde Tyme Christmas Facebook page and in store windows.

Here is map for the “reverse parade” on Saturday at the Medina school campus. The floats will be stationary and people will pass by them in vehicles. The entrance is on West Oak Orchard Street at the Oak Orchard Elementary School drive. Vehicles will exit on Maple Ridge Road near the high school.

The fourth annual Parade of Lights Toy Drive, led by Andrew Szatkowski, also had to adapt this year, and instead of collecting toys downtown, they are hosting a “Santa Hat Drive” at the start of the parade. Volunteer elves with Santa hats, much like a fireman’s boot drive, will be at the parade to collect spare change. All donations will go directly to local groups to help make a brighter Christmas for kids in Orleans County.

The Cutest Little Elf contest has gone virtual this year. Pictures can be submitted to Medina’s Olde Tyme Christmas Facebook page from this Saturday through Dec. 12. Winners will be based on how many “likes” a photo receives. Prizes will be provided by hometown businesses.

The Children’s Window Scavenger Hunt theme this year will be “The Night Before Christmas Mouse.” Entry forms are available online at christmasinmedina.com and at the English Rose Tea Shoppe, 527 Main St.

The Canal Village Farmers’ Market will take on a Christmas theme every Saturday until Christmas. The market is located at the corner of West Avenue and West Center Street.

The traditional children’s activities offered by downtown merchants will be available this year for two weeks – on Saturday through Dec. 12 (unless otherwise noted) during each business’s regular hours. This is to avoid large crowds which might violate Health Department recommendations.

Shoppers can enter to win an electric toy train by dropping off a non-perishable food item at the English Rose Tea Shoppe and receiving one raffle ticket for each item donated. Donations will be given to the Medina Food Pantry. Also at the English Rose Tea Shoppe, kids can pick up their special Santa Claus stationary to write their letter to Santa. Letters can be mailed in a special mail box in front of Rotary Park. The Tea Shoppe will also be handing out free samples of their most popular teas.

Alexandra Peracciny Photography on the second floor at 519 Main St. will be offering a holiday photo card/frame kit. Also, a complimentary photo booth will be set up in the studio from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12.

At Case-Nic Cookies at 439 Main St, kits to “Frost Your Own Cookie” will be sold for $1, with the proceeds going to the Medina Food Pantry.

Creekside Floral at 509 Main St. will offer a surprise “take and make” craft to complete at home.

Children can pick up a picture at Blissetts, 449 Main St., for a coloring contest. Pictures should be returned to blissetts by Dec. 12 to be entered to win a prize.

At the Book Shoppe, 519 Main St., there will be a take and make snowman bookmark craft.

Upscale Overstock at 339 North Main St. will offer a different take home kids’ craft each week.

Also at 339 North Main St., Mandeo’s Candy Shoppe will have cups of hot chocolate (with surprise ingredients, such as a peppermint stick or chocolate spoon) to make at home. Cost is $3 and proceeds will be donated to Anchoring Hope of New York and Buffalo Sabres Warriors Sled Hockey Program.

The Downtown Browsery at 413 Main St. will offer a take and make Santa ornament and a letter to Santa on which children can put their wish list. It can be returned to the Browsery and put in the Letters to Santa mailbox. The Browsery is also one of the locations for the MAAC collection barrels, and shoppers are encouraged to drop off a new toy to help make Christmas special for those less fortunate.

Since Canalside Tattoo can’t host the toy drive this year, they got together with Erin Townsend Photography to make 2021 calendars which they will sell for $30.

A variety of take and make crafts will also be available at Lyric & Lizzy Boutique, 335 North Main St.

Santa and Mrs. Claus make their way to the Medina Theatre after a parade through the downtown last year on Nov.30 when they rode in an old Medina fire truck. This year they will be at the Senior Center on West Avenue. Children and parents can enter through one door and exit through the other to adhere to social distancing. Masks will be required and there will be no sitting on Santa’s lap this year.

Anyone who brings a small baby item to Herbalty Collage will receive a “Stress-Free Holiday Bath Soak.” Baby items will be donated to Care Net of Greater Orleans.

Shoppers can drop off a gift for children and/or teenagers in the MAAC barrel at Ashlee’s Place, 116 East Center St.

As is the tradition, the day will be topped off with the spectacular Parade of Lights, which definitely has a different look this year. There will not be the traditional fireworks, but Instead of the parade passing by the spectators, the parade will be stationary and the spectators will drive by it. This is to eliminate the big crowds which usually gather on Main Street.

This year, cars will enter the parade route on West Oak Orchard Street at the Oak Orchard Elementary School drive near Genesee Street. Genesee Street will be closed to traffic. Cars are to proceed to the parade entrance and follow the route through the school campus, exiting at the high school on Maple Ridge Road. The parade will start promptly at 5 p.m., immediately after a ribbon cutting near Vets Park with parade marshals Dave and Trudy Schwert. Parade floats will be on display until 8 p.m., according to parade chairman Jim Hancock.