Village of Hamilton Celebrates Holiday Season with Night of Lights


Daniel McKay

HOLIDAYS IN HAMILTON: Colgate students and members of the Hamilton community gathered to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season with crafts, singing and local food.

The village of Hamilton hosted a community wide event called “Night of Lights” to celebrate the beginning of the holiday season. The event was presented by The Hub Hamilton on Friday, Dec. 3, and had food trucks provided by Ray’s Brothers BBQ and Delish.  

Night of Lights brought the community together on the green through the lighting of the Christmas tree, caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides and visits with Santa. Friday also marked the beginning of a two-week long program called Letters to Santa, in which kids can write letters to Santa that will be collected at various locations around Hamilton.

Chelsea Lehmann, events and marketing coordinator for The Hub Hamilton, was the main organizer of the event. The Hub is a co-working space at 20 Utica St. that offers a collaborative working environment and other resources, according to the Hamilton Partnership for Community Development website.

I have been planning for this since September, coordinating with the Village staff, all of the vendors, and participants, and gathering volunteers. We are thrilled to be back to this annual event since we couldn’t do it last year, and it turned out to be very festive,” Lehmann said.  

Not only was Night of Lights an event to bring the community together, but it provided a fundraising opportunity for the Hamilton Central School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) to be involved in a food drive.  

“Whichever elementary class brought in the largest number of items would get to ride the wagon with Santa to the event. [Margaret] Rose’s class won, but there were a total of more than 1000 items donated between pre-K and 5th grade,” Lehmann said.

Tucker Ray, co-owner of Ray’s Brothers BBQ in Bouckville, commented on the importance of the event for the Hamilton community.

“The Hamilton tree lighting has always been a special event around here. The village comes out to share their holiday spirit with everyone from the surrounding areas. I can remember being there my whole life as a kid. So for the village to invite us to bring our food truck down for the event is full circle for us,” Ray said. “We are super grateful to be a part of this time honored event. My brother Colin and I are lifelong Hamilton residents with generational ties to the community, as well as Colgate.”   

Colgate a cappella groups, such as the Swinging Gates, Colgate 13 and the Colgate Resolutions, all performed festive songs to accompany the holiday celebrations.

“We’ve done this in years past and it’s always such a highlight because we do not often do events where the surrounding area comes to see us,” senior and Head of Colgate Resolutions Isabel Lariño said.  

The Colgate 13, the University’s only all male a cappella group, performed “All I want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey. Colgate sophomore Jon Castillo, one of the two soloists for the performance, noted that the cold weather seemed to impact the group’s sound quality.

”It was really cold tonight, which definitely impacted our overall sound, just because it was harder to keep our voices warmed up.  But I think overall we ended up pulling through, and gave a really good performance for the community,” Castillo said.

Overall, attendees expressed that the Night of Lights was successful in getting the Hamilton and Colgate community into the Holiday Spirit. Colgate first-year Kate Harper noted that the event was needed during the stressful end of semester.

“My friends and I genuinely had such a wholesome and fun time listening to the a cappella groups and seeing the tree all lit up. It gave me the final push needed to get through the week of finals,” Harper said.