CORNING | Christmas is a time of year when traditions take center stage and families take comfort in sights, sounds and smells that remind them of holidays gone by.
The Crystal City celebrated one of its holiday traditions Saturday with the annual Sparkle of Christmas. Coleen Fabrizi, executive director of the Gaffer District, said this is the 39 year of Sparkle.
"This year we are very excited," Fabrizi said. "Between the vendors, the businesses, the performers and the special offerings, we will have 110 attractions. This is one packed street."
Official estimates of the crowd were unavailable at press time, but Fabrizi said that past Sparkles have drawn up to 5,000 people. Despite the frigid temperatures, people once again packed the street for this year's event.
Each person came down to Market Street with different goals in mind. Carrie and Reese Howey, of Waverly, came to do some holiday shopping among the Market Street shops and the vendors.
"We've been coming eight years," said Carrie Howey. "It gets us in the Christmas spirit."
One of the mainstays of Sparkle is the living Nativity staged by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Painted Post. This year marked the 15th year of the Nativity at Sparkle.
Rebecca Nix said 16 adults and youth from the church took place in this year's Nativity scene.
Sometimes Sparkle is about starting new traditions. The Corning Class of 2015 set up a booth at Sparkle to raise money by selling T-shirts.
The class of 2015 will be the first graduating class from the new unified high school that will open in September.
Kyle Curren, 9, of Painted Post, came down for his second Sparkle Saturday.
"I came down to have some fun," Curren said. "I love looking at the lights and decorations."
Other highlights of Curren's day included making a glass ornament at the Corning Museum of Glass and grabbing a hamburger from one of the vendors that filled Market Street with delicious odors all night.
Of course there's one tradition above all that is passed on from one generation to the next.
"I brought my 11-month -old niece down to get her picture taken with Santa Claus," said Megan York of Campbell. "This is her first Christmas."