USA Today

USA Today reports
on Seneca Falls' Event

Reporter Rick Hampson of USA Today tells the country all about our town, our event and our hopes.

Seneca Falls, N.Y., looks to
'Wonderful Life' movie for hope


Laura K. Vannah
and her Bright Star
ProductionZ (BSP)

actors will bring their talents and expertise to the Seneca Falls "It's a Wonderful Life" Christmas Festival on December 13, 2008. Vannah founded Bright Star ProductionZ Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in the summer of 2004, when she moved to Mexico, NY. Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre is a great combination of murder, mystery, music, interactive entertainment, food and fun. Vannah has produced, directed, and even acted in the numerous shows she has done over the past four years. Her company of actors have delighted audiences in their Oswego County general public performances. They have performed privately for companies such as the Eastman Kodak Corporation, East Coast Resorts, W.J. Cox Insurance Co., the Parish Irish Festival Days, and have even sailed along the Oneida River for Welch Allyn with Seaway Navigations & Tours.

BSP char-actors will re-enact scenes from the timeless movie "It's a Wonderful Life" on the village streets of Seneca Falls. At 11 A.M., they will re-enact the first famous "Bridge scene", where George Bailey "goes into the river" after Clarence, at the Pavilion. From there, these professional and talented actors will perform snippets from the movie throughout the day. Later in the afternoon, the BSP char-actors will re-enact the second "Bridge scene" of the movie, where George realizes he just wants to exist. The final "scene" where the townspeople bring George Bailey the money to pay his debt will be performed at the Seneca Falls Community Center. The money will be the "Bailey Bucks" that the audience has won throughout the day. The last scene of the movie will be re-enacted with all of the BSP actors and anyone that is at the Community Center prior to the start of the "Taste of Bedford Falls".

Meet George Bailey, his wife Mary, Clarence and more. Help Clarence earn his wings and show George that "each man's life touches so many other lives, and when he isn't around he leaves an awful hole!" Festival goers may even be a part of the action. Win "Bailey Bucks" throughout the day and bring them to the Taste of Bedford Falls. Win prizes for the collecting the most "Bailey Bucks". Listen to the melodious sounds of Merry Mischief at the North Pole, and so much more on this fun-filled day. To see a complete schedule, go to For more information on Bright Star ProductionZ, go to or call 315-963-3820. Come stroll the streets with us!


People now know
It’s A Wonderful Life in Seneca Falls

The annual It’s A Wonderful Life celebration in Seneca Falls is receiving a great deal of attention and praise. Reporters came from as far away as Great Britain to see just what our town has to offer. Both writers and the general public alike will find a great variety of events, most of which are modestly priced or completely free. In addition, the historic qualities and wonderful spirit of this community shine even brighter than the Christmas lights on Fall Street! Click on the links below to discover what others had to say about It’s A Wonderful Life in Seneca Falls.

Zuzu Still Believes ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Where It’s Always a Wonderful Life


George considers his life

Pictorial Postal
Design Competition

Contact the Heritage Area Visitor Center at (315) 568-2703. This year Seneca Falls will be celebrating the 61st anniversary of the film on December 7th through 9th, 2007. The Seneca Falls Heritage Area Visitor Center will be hosting a special pictorial postmark cancellation event on Saturday, December 8th. The cancellation will celebrate Seneca Falls as the inspiration for the movie setting of Bedford Falls

According to United States Postal Regulations, the design dimensions must not exceed four inches wide by two inches high and include “Seneca Falls, NY 13148” and “Bedford Falls Station.” All designs must be in black and white. Deadline for submission is Friday, September 21st, 2007. All designs should be mailed to Heritage Area Department, 60 State Street, Seneca Falls, NY 13148.

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Bridge Wedding

Behind The Photograph
By Spencer Tulis
Finger Lakes Times
Things are going well for Cindy Banas and Norm Coleman. You might even say “it’s a wonderful life.”

The couple was wed March 7 on the bridge over the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in Seneca Falls — the same bridge many people believe was the basis for the one depicted in the classic holiday movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” starring Jimmy Stewart.

Cindy and Norm, both 53, are not from this area. He is originally from California and still works there. She is originally from New Jersey and now lives in Henryville, Pa.

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They met in 1977 when both of their best friends, Auri and Marybeth Naggar, dated and eventually married. Through that couple, they stayed in contact as friends over the years, regardless of the distance separating them.

In 1997, on a trip to visit the Naggars in California, Cindy and Norm’s friendship became something more, and the two have carried on a serious long-distance relationship since.

As an administrator for a private school, Norm gets summers off, which means more face time with Cindy. After this school year, he plans to move to Henryville to be with his wife full-time.

Norm has always been a major fan of “It’s A Wonderful Life.” Cindy is also a fan and particularly loves the sentiment of it and its inspirational message. She says Norm — who has much of the script committed to memory — is an expert when it comes to trivia about the film.

Cindy believes she has met no other person that so closely possesses the decent qualities of the George Bailey character than her guy Norm.

So, it seemed natural when the time came to get married that the movie would play some sort of role.

When the two did a search on the Internet for Bedford Falls, Seneca Falls came up. They had never heard of the place but were intrigued. After a few phone calls to the village, the couple was amazed at the incredible enthusiasm, friendliness and effort that locals made to make their dream wedding come true.

Norm wanted to get married on the bridge at 11:30 a.m. Why so early? He wanted as much of the day as possible to be a married man, including having lunch in town with his new bride.

Because friends and family are scattered so far away, they decided to keep the ceremony small. So small, in fact, that the two witnesses recruited for the happy event were Seneca Falls Police Chief Frederick Capozzi and Seneca Falls Supervisor Pete Same. Town Justice Joyce “Bonnie” Mahoney performed the ceremony.

The only other observers were myself and the vice president of the village’s Its A Wonderful Life Committee, John Wood, who presented several theme-related gifts to the couple.

There is little doubt Norm and Cindy will never forget their special wedding day. A big reason for that is because the people of Seneca Falls opened up their arms, minds and hearts, continuing to show everyone why where we live and work is pretty darn “wonderful.”

Reprinted by permission. For more local news and features, visit the Finger Lakes Times.