November 30, 2021

Town of Cincinnatus to hold singalong, tree lighting

Christmas manger gets a fresh look

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

A Bethlehem town scape was added to this year’s manger display showns Nov. 29 at the Heritage Hall on Route 26 in the town of Cincinnatus.

Terena Loomis said a hair dresser in town, Sharon Pryor, was styling hair on a customer who told her, the village’s three wise men and their camels were in a barn — and they were going to be thrown out.

Pryor, a member of Cincinnatus Central School’s Booster Club, alerted the club, which stepped in and adopted them.

That was 33 years ago.

Ever since then, the town of Cincinnatus has erected the three camels and their wise men, as well as a manger scene, that hales back to 1958.

This year, the Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society unveiled an updated manger scene. School art teacher, Nicole Fabian, designed the Bethlehem townscape on either side of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. John ByRoad created a new set of doors for the Bethlehem scene, which had disappeared through the years.

Area people helped paint the panorama with paint donated by an anonymous businessperson.

Three sewing sessions were held to maintain the outfits on the wise men and camels as well as the sheep in the manger.

The $500 project, “Bring Back Bethlehem” was a culmination of a two-year fundraising campaign that saw action this summer.

And other groups were involved: Alice’s Dowry for the Arts, Cincinnatus Beautification Committee, Cincinnatus Fire Department and Kellogg Free Library.

“I think it’s a beginning,” Beth MacRae, co-chair of the Cincinnatus Heritage Society, said Sunday, when lights were erected. “The art teacher is already talking about doing more additions… that would give it dimension. I think it’s exciting.”

“It’s been in a lot of different places,” she said of the manger scene: at the school. The park. At one time it was lost. And then found.”

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Terena Loomis, left, and Ron Colasurdo, both of Cincinnatus, adjust a wise man and camel Nov. 29 on the lawn of the Kellogg Free Library on Telephone Road Extension in Cincinnatus.

Dale and Terena Loomis of Cincinnatus house the three wise men and camels every year. Dale and his grandson, Bryant, dust them off, set them up on the lawn and put the lights on the fixtures.

“It’s a tradition,” said Bryant Loomis of Rochester, a 2013 Cincinnatus High graduate.

Coming back to the area is “refreshing,” he said. “It brings back a lot of memories, good family traditions we got to do when I was younger.”

“We love those camels,” said Terena Loomis. “Mary and Joseph have had just about everyone helping them every year …This is absolutely gorgeous at night, with lights on the mangers and camels.”

Other helpers on the project included Laura Congdon, Derek Raimo, Gretchen Shufelt, Whitney Meeker, Arianna Silva, Jaymie Closson, Tess Southern.

Cincinnatus residents will enjoy a holiday celebration Saturday at the town green at the end of Telephone Road Extension and will do a walk to Kellogg Free Library, where the camels are located, and then on to the revamped manger located at the Cincinnatus Heritage Society on Route 26 and Telephone Road.

Masks and social distancing are required and the program is subject to current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restrictions.

Katie Keyser/living and leisure editor

Beth MacRae, co chair of the Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society, talks about the work area people did to revamp this year’s manger Cincinnatus.

The Saturday schedule is:

  • 6:30 p.m., holiday tree lighting and singing of “Oh Christmas Tree.” Visit from Santa with singing of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
  • 7 p.m., travel to Bethlehem, with more carols, “Here We Come A Caroling” and “We Three Kings” as people progress to Kellogg Library and then the Heritage Hall at the corner of Route 26 and Telephone Road, to the manger scene, to the tune of “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
  • At 7:30 p.m., at Alice’s Dowry for the Arts next to the Heritage Hall, people will listen to organ music on the lawn.

Ron Colasurdo of Cincinnatus is a new member of the CAHS. “Beth MacRae put me in a position where I couldn’t say no.”

And he also wanted to help out the town that has supported him so much. “It’s a great group of people,” said the new treasurer.

“I grew up on a farm outside of town,” said Sharon Pesesky of Homer, co-chair of the Cincinnatus Area Heritage Society. It was a fourth-generation farm. “My parents felt there was no better place to live than in Central New York,” she said of Ira and Kay White. “I didn’t even realize how attached my dad was to the area until he was gone. We had a display at the Heritage Hall before I was involved. It was of ‘Businesses of Bygone Days.’ In a photo album was receipts by area businesses. Everyone of them was signed by my dad,” she said. The farmer had frequented many companies in town. “I went to the board meeting. ‘I want to be a part of this organization,’” she said.

Pesesky said of the revamped manger: “I love it, I love it.”