Celebrating 50 Years of the East Aurora Carolcade

August 15, 2023
Written by
Don Vidler

The Christmas season can keep so many of us on the go between running from store to store, remembering everything on our to-do lists, or trying to remain in the spirit while stuck in holiday traffic. The message of Christmas can become easily lost if we continue to look at Christmas as a “To-Do” and not what is at the heart of Christmas—spending time with loved ones, celebrating the love that exists within our lives. We often look to holiday traditions to lead us back to enveloping ourselves in the warm, merry spirit of Christmas. Though many of those traditions are done within our homes, with loved ones, there is a special magic when those traditions spread throughout an entire community.  

Enter the East Aurora Carolcade 2022, which is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary!  

This tradition started back in 1971 when a small group of Girl Scouts entered the store, cheeks ruby red from the brisk weather.  

Looking around with beaming smiles at Mr. Ed Vidler, they asked, “Mr. Vidler, do you mind if we sing Christmas carols in front of your store?” they ask.  

“Well, that sounds wonderful,” Ed replied, with his usual twinkling smile. The scouts proceeded to sing a collection of beautiful Christmas carols in front of the store. After which, Ed gave them all some candy as his way of saying thank you.  

In fact, Ed Vidler enjoyed the singing so much that he placed an advertisement inviting “any bona fide Christmas carol group” to come sing in front of Vidler’s. Well, as soon as word spread of Ed’s attempt at making the caroling on Main Street in the village of East Aurora an annual event, citizens and merchants alike joined in advertising the event. Low and behold, a group spanning all ages showed up on the night of the Carolcade. It was the embodiment of the magical Christmas spirit, and everyone left with smiles on their faces as they knew a Christmas tradition had just been born.  

And so, the seed of tradition was planted, each year being nurtured by the rise of voices, now young and old, singing the familiar Christmas tunes that bring light and joy to our souls. 50 years later, it holds such a near and dear place in the hearts of many as they join with friends, family, and neighbors to lift their voices up.

During the 2020 season, many found themselves questioning what would ever become of Carolcade, a beautiful tradition that people became quite accustomed to being part of their holiday celebrations. However, there was no need to fear, as Don Vidler and Rob Goller, the town historian and Carolcade song leader, kept the tradition alive and well as they sang from the rooftop of Vidler’s.  It was such a sight and sign of hope that the 2020 East Aurora Carolcade was even featured on WBBZ TV.  

How lucky are we that one of the largest community traditions in Western New York happens right outside the doors of Vidler’s 5 & 10? Make the Carolcade part of your holiday traditions this year.  

The date?  

December 17th.

The time?

7:00 pm.

The place?

East Aurora Main Street!

Just track down Vidler’s, and you can’t miss it!

Find out more about the event and what activities can be found at this year’s big celebration by checking out our Facebook page.  

We here at Vidler’s 5 & 10 wish you a merry Christmas, a happy holiday season, and most certainly a happy new year!

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