The Thanksgiving weekend and the start of the holiday season is a time when communities look forward to what they hope are bustling downtowns and a fun and successful end to the year.
For North Castle and the hamlet of Armonk, it also means welcoming home the world’s most famous snowman.
On Sunday, hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of visitors from throughout the region will descend on Armonk for the 13th Frosty Day, the annual celebration where Frosty the Snowman comes to life – and you don’t have to be a kid to appreciate it.
Starting at noon, downtown Armonk will be transformed into a festive winter wonderland with an array of activities for children and families and treats to eat and drink. It’s followed by the parade down Main Street starting at 4 p.m., which makes its way to Wampus Brook Park for the Christmas tree lighting as day turns to evening.
“It’s one of these things that we took from like a small winter walk and a lighting ceremony to almost like a Disney production of Frosty the Snowman,” said Robby Morris, president of Friends of Frosty, the nonprofit group of volunteers that organizes the day with the town. “So we’ve really taken it into the next level after that. It’s just one of those great community events.”
Armonk claimed Frosty as its own more than a decade ago when it was documented that Steve Nelson, the lyricist of the classic Christmas song “Frosty the Snowman,” lived in Armonk for decades until his death in 1981.
While the celebration is similar from year to year, there are small changes that are typically made to improve the experience and keep the day fresh. This year, there will be a main stage on Main Street that will feature local performers, including musicians, singers and dancers, who will entertain the crowds, said Judy Willsey, a member of the Frosty Committee that organizes the event.
When they aren’t performing on stage, many of them will rove throughout the downtown.
Another new feature this year is a small petting zoo where children can visit with goats, rather than reindeer, Morris said.
The bubble bus will return along with the train and horse-drawn wagon rides around the downtown, he said.
If anyone gets a bit cold, they can get something to eat or drink at one of the shops in town or warm up at the North Castle Public Library in downtown to take in a continuous loop of the roughly 50-minute-long “Frosty the Snowman” movie. Carol Morris, one of the Friends of Frosty organizers along with her husband, Robby, said the library will also be offering a snowman craft for children to grab and go.
While many communities host holiday lighting ceremonies, what makes Frosty Day unique is the event’s centerpiece, a cold-weather parade, said North Castle Supervisor Michael Schiliro. In just over a decade, it has also become an event that residents throughout Westchester and beyond have become familiar with and look forward to.
But it’s also a fun way to usher in the holiday season without it being overly commercialized, he said.
“It’s important because it has become a tradition and I don’t see it ever going way, and I think it’ll be part of this town forever,” Schiliro said. “It’s so important to the kids in town, the kids look forward to it now, and the county looks forward to it.”
For those coming for Frosty Day, this year Maple Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic between Bedford Road and Main Street, Morris said.
Frosty Committee member Ed Woodyard said the day is a success because it’s great for families and harkens back to a time that many believe is lost.
“It’s a little bit of lost Americana and we’re bringing it back,” Woodyard said. “It makes you feel good. It’s one of those kinds of days.”
For more information on Frosty Day, visit www.armonkfrosty.com.