For the residents of Armonk, the cool weather can only mean one thing: Frosty Day is right around the corner.
Now in its seventh year, the winter spectacle has become an annual town staple, ushering in the holiday season with style and flair. Originally conceived by North Castle Historical Society Vice President Ed Woodyard as a Winter Walk and Tree Lighting in the Park, it morphed into Frosty Day in 2010, when the NCHS decided to recognize the contributions of New Castle resident Steve Edward Nelson. Nelson, who penned the lyrics to the snowman’s iconic anthem while he lived in White Plains, was a frequent visitor to Armonk and Nelson’s love for the hamlet is said to have provided inspiration for certain moments within the song. The “Village Square”–which Frosty “runs all around… with a broomstick in his hand”–is supposedly referencing the Bedford Road Historic District, while the town’s first police chief, John Hergenhan, inspired “traffic cop [who] hollered, ‘Stop!’”
“Because of these connections, [we thought], ‘Why not ramp this thing up?’” explains Robby Morris, President of Friends of Frosty, Inc., the not-for-profit organization in charge of planning the day’s events.
“We took it from a small little winter walk, into a full-out Disney production of ‘Frosty the Snowman,’ with costumes and activities galore.”
That they did–and this year promises to be no different. The day-long extravaganza kicks off with a host of activities throughout the downtown area, including train rides, face painting, a hot chocolate tasting, and the return of “Build-A-Frosty.” “From decorating a cupcake to creating an ornament from scratch, we’ve got something for everyone,” says Morris, with a smile. He also notes that Frosty himself will, of course, be visible throughout the day, spreading holiday cheer by posing for photos and giving warm hugs.
He’ll also anchor the main parade event, which commences on Old Route 22 and continues along Main Street toward Maple Avenue, before finishing up at Wampus Brook Park. As Frosty passes, he’ll invite all spectators to join the parade to its final destination. “We get almost 40 participants each year, from cars and floats to marching bands and other groups,” Morris continues. “They all come together, and It’s a lot of fun.” From there, the day culminates in the park with the original Tree Lighting ceremony, wherein Frosty will pull switch and set the park aglow.
As one would probably imagine, it’s a huge undertaking for all involved. “We probably work six months on this one-day event,” Still, Morris acknowledges the payoff simply can’t be beat. “It brings out the best in our community,” he says, noting that local businesses take in upwards of 300 visitors throughout the day. The fact that around 60 percent of them are coming in from out of town is another plus, as it not only boosts town vibrancy, but provides out-of-towners “good exposure to what Armonk has to offer” and may hopefully entice them to return in the future.
“The whole thing is at no cost to anyone,” explains Morris, adding that all expenses are covered through local sponsors, including Breezemont Day Camp, White Plains Hospital Medical and Wellness, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Hickory and Tweed, and The Bristal Assisted Living.
There’s indeed no “official” cost of admission, but the event does act, in part, as a fundraiser. As part of their Winter Warmth project, “Help Frosty Help Others,” members of Friends of Frosty, Inc., encourage attendees to donate winter clothing (jackets, hats, mittens), which will be distributed to a local charity following the parade. Bins will also be available prior to the event, at area schools, restaurants, and the North Castle Public Library. “People can drop items in as they walk through,” says Morris. “Anything is appreciated.”
While the lights and razzle-dazzle are indeed alluring–especially with the added bonus of the hamlet’s connection to the famed lyricist–Morris is quick to stress the true importance and meaning behind all the flash. “It’s a great event for that time of year where you’re giving back,” he says, with a broad smile.
He’s happy to report that year after year, the Armonk community never fails to deliver, and “when you’re watching everyone come together and get involved,” he says. “It’s a wonderful thing.”
The seventh annual Frosty Day Parade will be held November 27 from 12 to 5 p.m. in the Armonk Town Plaza. For more information, including schedules and sign-up sheets, please visit www.armonkfrosty.com.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ROBBY MORRIS
Matt Smith is a writer and regular contributor to The Inside Press. For further information or inquiry, please visit www.mattsmiththeatre.com.