An Electric City Christmas

From Santa Claus art to the art of dance, downtown Schenectady is truly offering holiday entertainment for the whole family. The Electric City continues to strengthen its art and music scene, and the holiday season is the perfect time to see all it has to offer.

Santa's creator

Kathryn Weller of the Schenectady Historical Society said one great exhibit to check out this year is Thomas Nast Creating Christmas. Nast's transition of what we know as Santa Claus was the first of its kind. Nast, who is of Dutch heritage, made the transition of St. Nicholas to the picture of Santa Claus that we know today. His art documented everything from the Civil War to the infamous "boss" William Marcy Tweed, but he is most remembered for his images of Santa Claus. The exhibit will highlight his illustrations in magazines such as Harper's Weekly.

"It's really a unique opportunity to see his work," said Weller.

More musical offerings

From Thursday, Dec. 14 to Sunday, Dec. 17, the "Melodies of Christmas" concert at Proctor's Theater will also serve as the theme for the downtown Christmas festival. The festival will include fun activities including performances by the puppet people, the Northeastern Ballet, and carolers. There will also be free rock climbing hosted by the Electric City Gym.

Schenectady County Chamber of Commerce Director Gail Kehn said there will be something for every age.

"There was a lot of thought going into the planning of this event. There will be horse drawn carriage rides, wood carvers, ice sculptures, art demos, eggnog, and of course Santa Claus," said Kehn.

O Tannenbaum

Bob Buccieri, executive director of the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation, said on Thursday the 14 at 6:30 in the evening, Mayor Brian Stratton will assist in lighting the city Christmas tree located on the corner of Lafayette and State streets. All of the activities will take place between here and Jay Street. Buccieri said area business will collect donations for the Children's Hospital at Albany Medical Center.

"The festival is a great time for families and friends to get together and celebrate the season, and it's all free," said Buccieri.

For information, contact the Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation at 377-9430 or the Schenectady Historical Society at 374-0263. You can also visit www.sayschenectady.org.""

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