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Remembering Rochester: Sibley's Christmas Adventure

Remembering Rochester: Sibley's Christmas Adventure

Posted by John Wolfe on 23rd Oct 2020

Few places in Rochester, N.Y. generate as many fond memories than Sibley’s Department Store.

Couple that with Rochester television legend Don Alhart, and you have a match made in nostalgia heaven.

The iconic department store was a landmark in downtown Rochester until it closed in 1990. To commemorate and remember the magic of Sibley’s, WHAM-TV Channel 13 anchor Don Alhart has created a book called “Sibley’s Christmas Adventure.”

In the story, Sibley the mouse goes on a magical Christmas adventure set in Sibley’s Toyland in downtown Rochester. The children’s book is illustrated by Rochester native Doug Hoyt and all proceeds from the book sales benefit the Arc Foundation of Monroe.

Alhart launched the book at The Arc of Monroe’s annual celebration, A Toast to the Arc, in early October.

“Downtown Rochester was a special place during the holidays, and the fourth-floor toy department at Sibley’s was the center of the universe for me,” Alhart said.

The story brings back memories of the "real" Santa at Sibley's, the Magic Corridor with holiday vignettes that led into the toy department, and the ever-present (and ever-heard) kazoos.

The book is $20, with proceeds benefiting the The Arc of Monroe.

Arc holds special memories for Don. One of his first emceeing appearances was at The Arc of Monroe’s bowling banquet over 50 years ago, just as he was beginning his career as a television journalist. When he arrived at the banquet hall at the Moose Club on East Avenue, he was welcomed with warm cheers and hugs and handshakes that moved him to tears. He’s never missed a banquet since.

“Thank you, Don and Doug, for this great collaboration, that warms our hearts and stirs feelings of nostalgia,” said Carol DeMoulin, executive director of The Arc Foundation of Monroe. “This is a great gift to The Arc Foundation of Monroe and will help us continue our mission of providing programs and services for over 1,400 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families in the Rochester community.”

The Arc of Monroe has been providing a variety of programs and services for over 1,400 people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and their families in the Rochester community for more than 60 years. The Arc works to enhance the quality of life and self-esteem of people in their programs, providing them with meaningful social development, supported employment, residential community living and enrichment opportunities.

Don Alhart introduces the story of "Sibley's Christmas Adventure" during the recent "A Toast to the ARC" gala.