MEXICO, NY – Christmas came early for the Mexico community thanks to the Greater Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Oswego and a number of local sponsors and businesses.
The Christmas in Mexico event ran three days long and included a Christmas parade, the annual tree lighting, an Ugly Sweater Dash, visits with Santa, local shopping, a holiday train display, free trolley and carriage rides and much more.
Hundreds of community members showed up throughout the days to partake in the Christmas festivities.
More than 350 local vendors were present at multiple locations and the local village businesses were decorated with holiday cheer and open for customers to shop or visit.
The Christmas in Mexico tradition began when a group of local churches decided to come together to create a meaningful holiday event for the community. Since then, “their vision has taken off,” said event coordinator, Heathe Jones of Friends of Oswego.
This year, the event started on Dec. 3 with the 5th annual Friends of Oswego Hospice Inc. “Lights of Remembrance” memorial tree lighting ceremony at the Eis House of Mexico.
Friday evening (Dec. 4), the holiday fun continued at the Mexico VFW for the McCarthy Family Christmas Concert with the Mexico Brass Band playing beforehand. Sponsored by the Mexico Public Library and Mexico Historical Society, the event was free to the public and provided refreshments.
Saturday arrived as the main event day, activities started at 9 a.m. and continued all throughout the day into the evening.
The community was able to enjoy a Winter Wonderland in Washington Hall in which the Oswego Valley Railroad Association set up a holiday train display and Santa stopped to visit the kids.
Washington Hall, as well as the Mexico Elementary School, also served as a donation location for both a Holiday Food Drive and a Holiday Toy Drive.
All food items donated went to the local food pantry and all toys donated, in partnership with Operation Reindeer, went to the children of Mexico to ensure that every child has a present under their tree on Christmas morning.
The Mexico Public Library hosted an open house and student art show in which community members could enjoy refreshments, face painting, raffles and prize drawings as well as shop through a used book sale.
Similarly, the Mexico Academy and Central Schools Faculty Association distributed free books to community children outside the Mexico Elementary School and rang the bell for the Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive at the same time.
Nearly all Mexico businesses were abundantly involved with the event, including the Stop to Stamp Map in which attendees were able to stop into local participating businesses and have their map initialed.
Once all 10 locations were completed, the map could be dropped into a box for a Christmas basket raffle with the winners announced during the tree lighting ceremony. All of the Christmas baskets raffled off were donated by local businesses or community members.
The Christmas cheer came to life in a comical spirit during the Ugly Sweater Dash Against Childhood Cancer.
Although the cause for the run is a serious matter, the race itself provided lots of laughs as participants showed up in their ugliest Christmas sweater attire and ran through the village in a short race.
Following the race, the Mexico Boy Scouts followed by the Mexico Middle School Band and a few floats headed down Main Street in the Christmas Parade, followed by Santa and Mrs. Claus who led the community to the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Hundreds crowded the street to listen as event coordinator, Heathe Jones of Friends of Oswego thanked the event sponsors, Spring Pond Farm for the donation of the Christmas tree, the Mexico DPW and Cornell Cooperative Extension for working behind the scenes to set the tree up and all of the community for their involvement.
Then, Jones’ young daughter led the community in a count down to the Christmas tree lighting.
Santa and Mrs. Claus made their way to the Mexico Fire House where they were available to visit with the children and enjoy refreshments as hosted by the Mexico Varsity Cheerleading team.
Members of the community were pleased with the outpouring of activities available at this year’s Christmas in Mexico.
“I’m pretty surprised with how much there is to do today,” said Mark Shatraw, in attendance with his children. “My son is four, and he is just having a blast. He’s so excited to see Santa and to watch the parade. It’s really been fun to be able to do all of this with him today.”
At the end of the day, Jones was pleased with the event as a whole as well and the turnout from the community.
“Today was a success,” said Jones. “It has really showcased what community involvement and volunteering is really about and how much the volunteering movement is present in our own communities.”
Jones was adamant in thanking the numerous local sponsors that helped make this year’s Christmas in Mexico possible including Pathfinder Bank, Oswego County Federal Credit Union, Eyecare Center of Mexico, Oswego County Tourism, ProBuild, TOPS, as well as The Eis House, Daddy Ed’s, Greater Mexico Chamber of Commerce, Cre8 Studios, Spring Pond Farm – William Ruby, and Mexico Academy and Central Schools.
“Everyone, even our youth groups like the boy and girl scout groups, the High School cheerleading team. All of the sponsors and youth groups involved today we are so thankful for. That’s what hits home for us, to show our youth what volunteering is and what is does for our community. That’s what Friends of Oswego is about,” said Jones.
Volunteers and donations poured in from all over the region including local businesses from neighboring cities and each volunteer or donation helped to bring the Christmas spirit to life in Mexico.
“From the baskets donated to the crowds of people here to the people playing Christmas music, it all counts. We even saw a sign on a residential door that said, ‘Knock on our door and wish us a Merry Christmas.’ That was just so inspiring to me,” said Jones.
Jones with Friends of Oswego was one of many helping hands in this year’s event working hand in hand with the Greater Mexico Chamber of Commerce who helped organize the ever-growing event.
“I really want to thank the chamber, they worked very hard in organizing this event and I know they’re already planning for next year,” said Jones.