Sparkle: Worth Risking Frostbite for 40 Years
I grew up in Buffalo. [You have to know that right away for 2 reasons: the first is that I’m about to share some thoughts on an outdoor event in Winter and my perspective (of snowfall, cold temperatures, etc.) may be different from yours; the second is that I’m weirdly proud of that crazy city so I’ll take whatever chance I get to make it the first sentence of a blog post.] I have lived in the Twin Tiers for exactly 9 years. [Literally. I moved to Elmira on December 5, 2005 and lived there for about a year and a half before making Corning my indefinite home.] Norman Mintz and Rose Moses are my heroes. [Explanation below.]
In 1974, exactly 40 years ago at the very first “Sparkle of Christmas,” (as it was originally called) this is how one of the event coordinators Rose Moses described the atmosphere: “A light snow fell during the evening, there was music along the street, many booths offering merchandise and food, and Norman Mintz roasting and selling chestnuts. It was beautiful.” Snow, music, and chestnuts in one place? I’m listening…
I think it’s safe to say that the original vision and execution of “Sparkle of Christmas,” as set forth by Rose Moses and Norman Mintz, is still in tact today. There are plenty of scheduled and planned events this year, like the musical entertainment, opening and closing ceremonies, horse and wagon rides, and the first “Selfless Elf 5K Race,” but I’m most looking forward to capturing the essence of this small-town holiday event when I buy a hot coffee and stroll down Market Street saying hi to the people I recognize. Call me out on “cheese appeal,” but when I run into you and you’re doing the exact same thing, I’m totally saying I told you so.
For me, there’s something refreshing about being in the cold, and something even more enjoyable about being in a crowd when everyone is bundled and looking for ways to stay warm. It’s as if the conversations, the movement, the food and drinks are all necessary – no one chooses to sit out of the activities for fear of getting cold again.
Norman and Rose created a perfect holiday event for this small town 40 years ago, whether you’re a transplanted Buffalonian or a life-long resident. Oh, and this year there are fireworks. See you there!