Celebrating a Finger Lakes Winter

Onondaga Lake's "Lights on the Lake." Photo courtesy Galaxy Events|Big Dog Events

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City ends with Santa Claus coming to town and is meant to kick off the holiday season. One doesn’t have to travel downstate to enjoy the festivities though as there are lots of activities going on across the region to celebrate the season.


Clifton Springs’ Festival of Lights

December 1, 5 to 8 p.m.

This festival in charming Clifton Springs offers live music, free horse-drawn wagon rides, ice sculpting, visits with Santa, and the Tiffany Mosaic of the Last Supper. Street vendors and shopping specials will help visitors get started on their holiday shopping. Visit cliftonspringschamber.com or call 315-462-8200 for more information.


Owego's "Lights on the River." Photo courtesy pinterest.com/oweg/owego-ny

Owego’s Lights on the River

December 1, 4 to 8 p.m.

Owego really knows how to celebrate, and this festival includes something for everyone! Visitors can enjoy a mobile photo booth, a book sculpture, live reindeer, and a count-down by News Radio WEBO to Santa turning on the Christmas lights. The evening is topped off with fireworks launched from Draper Park. For more information visit owego.org.


Rochester’s Lighting of the Liberty Pole

December 2, kick-off at 4:30 p.m.

Join Mayor Lovely Warren light the Liberty Pole, then follow the parade to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Park where there will be free ice skating, horse-drawn carriage rides, and crafts for the kids. Free parking is available, as well as ice skate rentals. For more information visit cityofrochester.gov or call 585-428-6690.           


Downtown Ithaca’s Ice Festival

December 7-9, 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday

A national competition with a $9000 prize for the winning sculptor, Downtown Ithaca’s Ice Festival offers three days of winter fun. Thursday evening kicks the festival off with an ice bar, Friday and Saturday offer timed ice sculpting by the professionals. A chowder competition is also in the makings for Saturday and visitors can purchase a ticket to sample the chefs’ best offerings. For more information visit downtownithaca.com.


Onondaga Lake Park’s Lights on the Lake

November 15 – January 7, 5 to 10 p.m. nightly

This drive-through light show at the lake-side park in Liverpool is a visual spectacular for the whole family. The two-mile drive will take visitors under bright arches, into a twinkling fantasy forest, through a Victorian village, and finish with a “fairytale magic grand finale.” Visit lightsonthelake.com for pricing information, or call 315-471-9597 to purchase tickets.


Pretty much every little town across the region has a holiday celebration so finding one to enjoy isn’t the problem. It becomes more a matter of bundling up for the weather and then deciding which ones can’t be missed.

By Gabrielle L. Wheeler

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