Henderson Harbor’s Christmas in July dampened by downpour, but it’s a miracle for a restaurant lookin to open its doors

Published: Jul. 29, 2023 at 5:07 PM EDT
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HENDERSON HARBOR, New York (WWNY) - It wasn’t snow that halted Henderson Harbor’s holiday celebration, but a torrential downpour forced organizers to cancel its classic car show along with the annual parade and band performance.

“We’ll figure it out. Everything is fine. Christmas, you can’t cancel Christmas,” said Gail Smith, President of the Henderson Business and Community Council.

Despite the shakeup, folks still hit Henderson in droves, and the weather didn’t have an effect on evening festivities like the boat parade.

“This event has done what it’s supposed to do. It’s brought people in. It’s brought people together,” said Smith.

Waiting for the evening events to kick off, a lot of people took refuge in the historic GillHouse.

A pending sewer project has halted its opening on multiple occasions, but it’s been given the go ahead to temporarily operate during the weekend.

“We’ve put a lot of work into this place over the last two and a half years. After our work, it’s just so refreshing to open our doors to the public,” said GillHouse owner Steve Vollmer.

Vollmer says on Tuesday he learned he could open and had to scramble to get things ready by Friday. One guest tells us she didn’t even notice.

“So I expected bumps. I really have to say I didn’t experience any of them. The food was delicious, the staff was very accommodating and friendly. They knew the menu,” said Sharon Ciliberti-Steinfurth.

With a successful weekend under his belt, Vollmer remains optimistic that it won’t be long before this temporary opening becomes permanent.

“We’re sitting here hoping we can salvage the season and we’ll be working through the whole fall and early winter,” said Vollmer.

The GillHouse will continue serving customers through Sunday. Come Monday morning however, it will be closed until the sewer project is sorted out.