CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- As Chappaqua residents shopped downtown on Saturday afternoon, they got a chance to listen to some Christmas carols and watch Anthony Tavitian sculpt a penguin out of a solid block of ice outside Desires by Mikolay.
The attractions were part of the second annual Holiday Stroll, organized by the Chappaqua-Millwood Chamber of Commerce to support local shopping. New Chamber President Nancy Shenker decided to let the community in on the fun of planning the event.
"We crowd-sourced the design of the sculpture. We took a town-wide poll among the residents to find out what they wanted to see," Shenker said.
About 80 people voted on the choice of snowflake, reindeer or penguin. The residents chose the penguin, and Tavitian, a sculptor with the Deerpark-based Apple Ice, delivered their request.
"Our whole objective is to get more residents of New Castle to shop local," Shenker said. She said upporting local businesses brings in tax revenue, creates jobs and increases property values. "I think a lot of people will find that they don't need to go to the malls, they can find everything they need for the holidays right here in town."
The Ossining-based group Sing We Enchanted serenaded onlookers as Tavitian spent about an hour crafting the 300-pound block of ice into a penguin, which was placed outside the store on top of an ice sculpture of the Desires by Mikolay logo. He started making deliveries for Apple Ice about eight years ago, and gradually moved into sculpting.
The event was sponsored by Desires by Mikolay. Co-owner Tara Mikolay said that the was eager to partner with the Chamber of Commerce when it launched last year.
"There weren't a lot of events in town, and they're bringing in new life to the downtown," Mikolay said. "This is my favorite time of the year, and I love doing stuff like this. It's so fun, and this is such a family town, so we wanted to do something that we thought the kids would enjoy as well as the parents."