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Port Chester Daily Voice serves Port Chester, NY

Rye Chamber Holds Annual Mistletoe Magic Festival

RYE, N.Y. – About 5,000 people thronged Purchase Street Sunday for the annual Mistletoe Magic Street Festival, an event that included a variety of games and food concessions.

The annual event, which has been held for the past eight years, is sponsored by the Rye Chamber of Commerce, with local businesses sponsoring individual events. Greenwich Hospital sponsored the Climbing Wall, Mercedes-Benz of Greenwich sponsored the Pony Ride and Houlihan Lawrence sponsored the Horse ‘n Buggy ride.

Steve Bodhajecki, who owns Loon Meadow Farm in Norfolk, Conn., donned a top hat and rode the buggy, which seated about 20 kids and parents. Two Percheron draft horses, weighing about 1,700 pounds each, led the buggy up Purchase Street and around the block.

Mike Batchelder, a Coast Guard lieutenant commander, whose wife Gena grew up in Rye, took his 2-and-a-half-year-old son, Mike Jr. for a buggy ride. “It was a free ride around the block, we saw everything and the horses are beautiful,” he said.

The buggy passed a number of other games, including the Ninja Jump, where kids entered a jumping space encased in a large tent.

A Chili Cook-off contest was held for the first time this year. Eleven chefs prepared chili that was tasted by townspeople who voted for the best chili. Trish Burinescu, a Rye mother with her young son Jonathan, said, “I’m going to taste two of the chilies and decide which one’s best.”

Mistletoe Magic is a free event that’s “a giveback to the community,” said Sally Wright, vice chairperson of the Rye Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a thank you for shopping in Rye and they’ll come back over the holiday season.”

Money raised from sponsors and through a raffle will be used to support a scholarship fund. A Rye high school senior will receive at least $3,000, Wright said.

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