Urban Corning’s Guide to Crystal City Christmas
Now that the tree’s been lit and the community’s best have paraded down Market Street, it’s officially Christmas in the Crystal City.
Nearly every year, Country Living Magazine names Corning one of the “Best Small Towns For Christmas,” and for good reason. Downtown Corning thrives during the holiday season. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, there’s an extra special buzz on Market Street. Maybe it’s the beautiful window displays, the glisten and glow of countless white lights, the ringing of hand bells, or a combination of all of the above, but the Crystal City definitely enjoys a noticeably festive atmosphere.
Like in a lot of other towns across the country, there are seemingly countless ways to celebrate the holiday season – but there are also a few ways to make your Christmas season as Corning-centric as possible. Below, you’ll find four recommendations for activities that put the Crystal City in Crystal City Christmas.
Enjoy One Of The City’s Oldest Traditions
Sparkle has been a Corning tradition for 43 years. As the signature event of the official Crystal City Christmas event schedule, it can’t be missed. Beginning at 5pm on Saturday, December 2nd, the evening will feature horse and wagon rides, shopping and dining promotions, outdoor entertainment and activities for the whole family, as well as craft and food vendors, carolers, and photos with Santa in his special Crystal House. Rumor has it that this year’s event will even include fireworks at the end of the night!
There’s a lot of holiday fun to be had before, during, and after Sparkle. For a full list of the Gaffer District’s Crystal City Christmas events, including wagon rides and Santa’s Centerway Square appearances, click HERE.
Have Yourself A Very Merry Date Night
Get your calendar, grab a red Sharpie, and circle December 5th a few times. It’s date night.
I know what you’re thinking, “Date night? On a Tuesday?” Yes, on a Tuesday. But this isn’t just any old Tuesday; it’s classic movie night at the Corning Palace Theatre, and on the 5th you’ll have your pick of not one, but two classic Christmas movies. If you’re in the mood for something comical, they’ll have a showing of National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. But, if you want the true classic movie experience, they’ll also show White Christmas – which I’m ridiculously excited for. It’s not everyday that you get to see Bing Crosby on the big screen. Both shows begin at 7pm. In lieu of cash, the admission is four canned goods per person, which will then be donated to local food pantries. For your donation, you and your date will each receive admission to the show of your choice, a popcorn, and a fountain drink.
Before the movie, split a few tapas next door at The Cellar, while enjoying a glass of wine or a seasonal cocktail. Personally, I’ve been all about bourbon concoctions lately. If you want to go that route, I’d recommend The Cellar’s Apple Knocker – a cocktail combining local apple cider, ginger, and bourbon. The cider and ginger provide the perfect holiday spice, while the bourbon adds just enough heat to warm your core on even the coldest of nights. And the night doesn’t end when the film credits role. As you leave The Palace, take a lap up and down Market Street between the glowing trees and decorated storefronts. There’s something pretty special (i.e. romantic) about a quiet, lamplit street. It’s even better if there are a few flurries in the air, so let’s keep our fingers crossed for that extra bit of ambiance.
**BONUS: If you’re more of a “get out and move” kind of couple, substitute the movie for a night at the skating rink. Details below.
Take The Family Skating
On Sunday, December 17th, bundle up, grab the kids, and head to Downtown Corning’s Nasser Civic Center for a fun-filled day of ice skating during its annual Christmas Wonderland On Ice. Admission for the day is just $2 per person, and includes rentals skates! Along with enjoying the regular open public skate from 1-4pm, you and the kids can help decorate the civic center’s Christmas tree by contributing your own ornaments. Then, at 4:30pm, find a spot in the seats to watch the very special Christmas On Ice show.
Families with children under ten are invited to stay after for an opportunity to skate with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Frosty and Santa’s Elves. When he’s not skating, Santa will hear any last minute Christmas wishes, while his darling Mrs. Claus hands out candy canes and the elves help children make their own holiday decorations. That’s a whole lot of family fun for just two dollars!
The Nassar Civic Center offers an open public skate each day and night. You can see the rink’s full winter public skating schedule, HERE.
Judge The City’s Edible Architecture
Let’s be real, each and every one of us is a critic in one way or another, and we LOVE when our opinions our heard. Thanks to the Rockwell Museum, we can put our criticism to good use – and in the name of edible art!
The museum is currently hosting its 3rd Annual Gingerbread Invitational – a fun, artful gingerbread competition and exhibition with a focus on historic landmarks and architecture found throughout our beloved region. If you’re having trouble picturing it, just image this: a gingerbread replica of Centerway Square, complete with a tree made of icing, candy cane decorations and gumdrop gifts. Creations are submitted by professional and amateur bakers alike, and each one is unique, beautiful, and delicious. The exhibition is currently on display and will continue to be so through New Year’s Eve. Throughout the holiday season, when you visit The Rockwell, you’ll have the opportunity to vote for your favorite creation. Once all of the votes have been tallied, the winner of the Community Choice Award will be announced in early January, so stay tuned!
From all of us at Urban Corning, to all of you, have a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. Enjoy the season!