SENECA FALLS, N.Y. (NCC NEWS)- The holidays are right around the corner, which means people will be taking part in festive activities. One small town in Central New York is home to a popular Christmas event, that generates thousands of dollars for the local economy.
Seneca Falls is home to “It’s a Wonderful Life” festival. It is a three-day event that starts on December 13. Christine VanDusen, the owner of CVDesigns Boutique in downtown Seneca Falls, says the weekend is one of her busiest times. The shop sees a three hundred percent increase in sales.
“It becomes shoulder to shoulder in here,” VanDusen said. “We have to kind of clear some space for people to come through.”
VanDusen starts ordering decorations and merchandise for the holidays in February. New products she orders specifically for the festival weekend are ornaments, beanies, scarves, bells and “It’s a Wonderful Life” movie-themed gifts.
CVDesigns Boutique is not the only business preparing for the festival. According to Francis Caraccilo, a board of trustee member for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” museum, the museum alone spends around fifty-thousand dollars for the event. The money goes towards dinners, a dance in the local gym, and travel for the actors and actresses from the movie so they can be at the event.
“The festival right now is probably drawing between 15 to 20 thousand people a year for the three-day festival, which is not bad,” Caraccilo said.
Planning for the festival is a year-round process, but locals find it worth it.
“The weekend is centered around the movie, but to me, it has always been more than that,” VanDusen said. “We live in a time where so many things divide us, and Wonderful Life brings people from all over the country to embrace the spirit of the holiday season together, and I think that is something to be celebrated.”