FROSTY THE SNOWMAN RETURNED TO HIS HOMETOWN ON NOVEMBER 28, 2015
Frosty Day Celebrated in Armonk, New York
November 30, 2015 A jolly time was had by all when Frosty the Snowman arrived in Armonk on Saturday. Hundreds of children from near and far had so much fun when they rode around town on the Frosty Express, and trotted through Wampus Brook Park on the Belgian horse-drawn wagon.
The fairy tale day was spread through Armonk Square and up and down Main Street. Two-hundred and fifty kids visited Framings to play one of the favored treasure hunts with prizes for everyone. Shop owner Judy Gilmartin-Willsey coordinated many of the activities all around the town’s shops where kids traveled to and from with parents in tow as everyone was well-fed with cookies, hot chocolate and sweets from everywhere as their faces were painted and their photos were taken with Frosty and Santa.
Much appreciation went out to Steve Nelson who in 1950 wrote the lyrics and music of “Frosty the Snowman” just before he moved to the Whippoorwill area of Armonk. Nelson lived across the street from Susan Geffen who remembers seeing a Frosty ornamental decoration in the Nelson’s yard for the holidays. Geffen drives her yellow Buggy in the Frosty Parade every year, representing the Friends of the North Castle Library and the Armonk Outdoor Art Show.
In 1996, Audrey Nelson wrote a holiday note to Mildred Wago, then North Castle Receiver of Taxes. On this year's Frosty Day, that letter was read and presented to the Town of North Castle by Mildred Wago’s daughters, Linda Herbst and Charlene Decker. Audrey signed the letter as “Frosty’s Mama” after she said an Armonk tree was that year's Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center and that “Frosty was conceived in beautiful Armonk, too, and that’s something of which to be proud. Don’t you agree?”
Herbst and Decker presented the original letter from their mother’s treasures so as to keep this special day in history in remembrance for the Town of North Castle. They also escorted Frosty during the parade down Main Street which was lined two- and three-deep with parade goers.
Sam Morell emceed this year’s sixth annual parade, along with Neal Schwartz and Meg Waxman; they co-chaired the viewing stand in front of the Armonk Post office. Morell said, “Considering the rain during Frosty Day, that didn’t drown any of the enthusiasm and attendance.”
The town couldn’t be more proud of the unique celebration that welcomes much of Westchester and neighboring counties to join in the festivities. Matt Trainor, North Castle’s Recreation Director, said that Armonk had people from all over the place who told him none of their own communities were doing anything similar to this.
This was the first year Jennifer Giusti, North Castle’s Senior Recreation Leader, was involved in Frosty Day. “It’s a nice event,” she said, “with a lot of people coming in and out of the Hergenhan Recreation Center.” She was pleasantly surprised that not only were the kids into decorating the Frosty carrying sticks for parade time, but the parents were also.
In addition, Stephen D’Angelo, North Castle’s deputy supervisor, presented a proclamation celebrating Frosty’s 65th birthday from the Town Board that proclaimed November 28, 2015 as Armonk Frosty Day. “Congratulations to the Friends of Frosty whose mission is to foster the love and spirit of community and sharing,” he said to the large crowd.
The hope is to carry on the tradition for decades from now so when the children who greeted Frosty today will bring back their children and grandchildren when they can look back on fond memories of a day that was filled with laughter and joy.
The magical day was held as everyone joined together for the first event at the newly reconstructed gazebo with a live sing-along led by Rick and Linda Cantatore, who are both retired teachers from Westchester’s public schools systems. Linda, a Byram Hills graduate herself, was recognized by some of her former kindergarten students who attended Coman Hill Elementary School. “Despite the rain, it didn’t dampen any spirits,” said Linda. Rick kept his original “Frosty the Snowman” sheet music from when he was younger and the singing crowd received a sing-along package with a small hand-held flashlight.
As families were gathered, a group countdown was done as Frosty flipped the “Becky Switch” in fond memory of Becky Kitteridge who was a lifetime Armonk resident and North Castle councilwoman for decades. The park lit up with blue snowflakes in the trees above, as did the Christmas tree and the creche, as well as a menorah, and crescent moon and star. The display reminds us of the multi-cultural backgrounds of North Castle residents, as well as of the families, friends and guests who gathered for a day to remember.
Thank you to the Friends of Frosty and all the volunteers, businesses and North Castle town employees who brought back this classic fairy tale that is now a beloved tradition from where the story started.
The Friends of Frosty invite everyone back next year for Frosty Day on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Please feel free to leave your comments hereabout how to make the event better next year.
November 1, 2015 The homecoming of America’s favorite snowman, Frosty, will be celebrated again this year with “Frosty Day” by his hometown of Armonk, New York on Saturday, November 28, the Saturday of the Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend. This year also commemorates Frosty's 65th Birthday.
Free activities and fun-filled family events will start at 12:00 noon in town; they include miniature train rides around town, a horse-drawn wagon ride through Wampus Brook Park, Main Street musicians, Frosty cartoons at the North Castle Public Library, dancers and performers in Armonk Square, as well as players, singers and clowns throughout downtown Armonk. In addition, marching bands and carolers will accompany families as they visit shops and merchants to get their faces painted, frost holiday cookies, decorate ornaments and trinkets, and make-your-own Frosties to carry in the parade.
The Frosty Parade is the only holiday parade in the Tri-State region.
2015 Frosty Day Activities Schedule Noon to 4:00 p.m.
The Hergenhan Center - Build-A-Frosty (ages 5-12) Framings - Find the frame, everyone wins a prize Chase Bank - Make Frosty money, hot chocolate Grand Lux Realty - Free balloons, chocolate chip cookies Hott Blow Bar - Red, green and blue hair extensions Bowls - Free coffee samples all day Peachwave - Face Painting Cherylyn Salon - Chair massage, free samples, hot chocolate, free cookies Wine Geeks - Holiday wine tasting: 11:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Joseph Richard Florals - Take a Frosty selfie Moderne Barne Wines & Spirits - Hot Toddies & wine tasting NC Public Library - "Frosty the Snowman" movie Houlihan Lawrence - Hot chocolate and snacks, face painting: Noon - 4:30 p.m. Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Coffee, hot chocolate and cookies Beehive Restaurant - Kids come in and pick up a treat from Frosty LOL Kids - Decorate a wooden mask St. Stephen's Holiday Fair DeCicco Mural Wall Painting - Watch Westlake High School artists Market North - giving away "hot ice cream"
The highlight of Frosty Day will be a parade starting at 4:30 p.m. that will go down Main Street, past the “Village Square” mentioned in the song, and then onto Maple Avenue. More than 30 local groups and organizations will participate with floats, lights, dancing, costumes and music to welcome Frosty home. Frosty then invites everyone to become part of the parade and to cross the bridge in Wampus Brook Park to the newly restored gazebo for a gala holiday lighting ceremony, with more music and refreshments.
After the holiday lighting, the Main Street Open House of restaurants, merchants and businesses will further welcome in the holidays.
In addition, the Friends of Frosty, Inc., a non-profit group formed to oversee the day’s activities and events, will continue its Winter Warmth project, “Help Frosty Help Others.” Starting in the fall, it collects clean and gently used winter clothing, such as hats, gloves, scarves, mittens, parkas and coats, for those in need, at several locations around town. Donation jars will also be available for contributions at stores and restaurants.
Last year’s Frosty Day saw more than a thousand people from the Tri-State region welcoming Frosty home to Armonk. It was also named one of the “10 Best Things To Do” in Westchester County by the Westchester County Office of Tourism.
During this time of the December holidays, where several religions are featured in civic and educational settings, Frosty the Snowman remains a symbol of the fun and excitement of the winter holiday season.
"Frosty Day is an event that the town looks forward to every year," said Robby Morris, president of the Friends of Frosty. "The whole town comes out for it. Just about every group in town is involved somehow, from the Town of North Castle to the Armonk Chamber of Commerce, from the religious institutions to the schools, from the sports and youth groups to volunteer organizations. It is a great time for everyone to come together and have some fun."
1:00 - 4:00 p.m. Ravies Real Estate - Cupcake decorating, photo booth, Bahamas raffle Santa Photo-op - Look for Santa on the antique firetruck at Town Hall Frosty Express train ride - Pick up/drop off at Town Hall Rock Hill Farm - Wampus Brook Park with Banjo Rascals sponsored by WPH Medical & Wellness Susan Blake - Wine & cheese
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. Tazza - Face Painting Mariachi Mexico - Make a Frosty Mexican dessert Lillies & Lace - Pick up your treat and play a game Jagger & Jade - Frosty necklace craft giveaway The Right Thing - Make a Frosty card Armonk Wines & Spirits - Serving "Frosty Noggins" egg nog La Gravinese Jewelry Store - Make a Frosty bracelet Tru Grace Fashion Lounge - Pick up a Frosty treat DeCicco - Hot dogs & hot chocolate Sheep Shack - Come in for a free cookie and check out the fashions Eye Level - Cupcake decorating Hickory & Tweed - Frosty photo-op
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. Armonk Square - Entertainment & interviews - Viewing Stand
Located in the Town of North Castle, Armonk’s Historic District is the “Village Square” mentioned in the song’s lyrics where Frosty dared the children to “catch me if you can.” The lyricist of the winter holiday classic, Steve Nelson, was a frequent visitor to Armonk after World War II from his home in nearby White Plains, NY. In 1950, he wrote the song’s lyrics which he put to Jack Rollins’ music; Gene Autry recorded the song that year, making it an instant classic, following his earlier one of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Nelson bought land in Armonk that year on which he would build his home.
In a letter written some 40-plus years later to a friend, Steve Nelson’s widow Audrey acknowledged that Armonk was indeed the inspiration for the famous song.
Life-long Armonk resident and town councilwoman Barbara DiGiacinto said, “The traffic cop in the song who hollered ‘Stop!’ to Frosty was said to be based on the town’s former chief of police, John Hergenhan, who just happened to be my uncle.”
Steve Nelson lived with his family in Armonk until his death there in 1981. In 1957, “Frosty the Snowman” was recorded again by Perry Como, solidifying it as a perennial song of the season. This success was followed by an animated version in 1969, now seen annually on television.
Judy Gilmartin Willsey, a Main Street business owner and a coordinator of Frosty Day, agreed. “Saturday, November 28 in Armonk, New York promises to be a day full of ‘thumpety thump thump.’ We hope that everyone will join us in all the free fun.”