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Amenia celebrates the holidays with Santa

AMENIA — The town of Amenia was humming with holiday excitement on Sunday, Dec. 4, during the town’s 18th annual Holiday of Lights celebration.In the afternoon, children and families flocked to the Amenia Free Library to visit with Santa Claus and get their picture taken with him. The children also received a free book and a candy cane. While waiting in line, everyone chatted cheerfully, munched on homemade baked goods and sipped hot, fresh cinnamon apple cider.Nearby, at the Town Hall, children made ornaments and holiday decorations while a dance class performed select routines in the styles of waltz, foxtrot, hustle and pasodoble. The dance students will be performing their final recital on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 2:30 p.m. at the Webutuck High School auditorium. Admission is free to the public.Free raffle tickets were handed out at both locations. The prizes for the raffles were donated by local businesses, including the Bank of Millbrook, Video Forum, Freshtown and Santo’s Pizza and Pasta.The day’s celebrations were capped with two tree lighting ceremonies, one in Amenia and one in Wassaic.At sunset, merrymakers gathered in Fountain Square for the tree-lighting ceremony. Once the evergreens and the lamp post decorations were illuminated, the crowd sang Christmas carols led by Erica Doyle on vocals and Lizzie Chamberlin on violin.Santa chatted with a few more children before boarding a firetruck adorned with holiday lights and wreaths to make his way to Wassaic.During the tree lighting ceremonies in Amenia and Wassaic, certificates were handed out to the Citizen of the Year in each community. This year, both Citizen of the Year awards went to fire chiefs.The Amenia Citizen of the Year is Shawn Howard and the Wassaic Citizen of the Year is Scott Boardman.Both men were honored for their hard work during the extreme storms that have hit the region during the year, including Tropical Storm Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.Town Supervisor Wayne Euvrard and Councilwoman Vicki Doyle said that there were many people who helped the town in a meaningful way, but these two men stood out because of their dedication and the extreme effort they extended to help their neighbors during states of emergency, often putting the needs of their community above their own.Howard and Boardman will be honored along with previous Citizens on the Year in a display on the second floor of the Amenia Town Hall.Doyle said she hopes to move the display to a more prominent location on the first floor.

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