B y Jaime Thomas
Between getting into the holiday spirit, seeking entertainment at a variety show, listening as bands battle it out or viewing art, this weekend has it all.
Cold weather might be settling in to stay, but there are still plenty of ways to get out and have fun in the community. So take your pick of one, two or three events and enjoy what the area has to offer this Friday and Saturday.
Granville Christmas-tree lighting
The village has been undergoing a transformation over the past few weeks as volunteers and employees have been working as hard as elves to prepare for Santa.
On Friday, Dec. 6, the village, the Chamber of Commerce, the Slate Valley and Pember museums and other organizations will join together for a special, unprecedented event.
“It’s going to be spectacular,” Assistant Village Clerk Denise Davies said.
Kicking off the festivities will be kid-friendly events at the Pember Library and Museum and the Slate Valley Museum at 4:30 p.m.
Glittering from a dozen or so Christmas trees, the Slate opens to the public at 4:30 p.m. The museum will offer slate decoration making, Christmas movies on the big screen, the Festival of Trees, model trains and a Memories of Christmas tree.
At about 4:45, Santa will arrive by sleigh before he heads out to visit more children.
The Pember, meanwhile, will offer stories by the fire, Christmas craft making for children, a winter animals activity and cookies and hot cider. At 5:15 p.m., St. Nick arrives at the library, and children will receive gift books from Fronhoffer’s Books in Kids Hands.
Spreading the sounds of the season, three groups of carolers will stop at the museums and local nursing homes to start the holiday spirit.
Everyone who wants to see Santa arrive in a horse-drawn carriage, pulled by John Shaw’s Clydesdales, should be sure to follow the luminaries to Veterans Park around 5:45 or so. Before St. Nick shows up, community members can tour the lighted displays.
Then, Mr. Claus will garner his magic to light the trees in time with music.
“You hope these people come out and see it. It’s going to be one of those things that you see and go, ‘Whoa,’” Roberts said. The park alone boasts 25,000 lights.
After Santa arrives, he will speak with children and give them presents, and the park will be aglow with activity. Local Boy Scouts will have a fire set up to warm up chilly revelers, and auxiliaries of the American Legion and the VFW will give out hot cocoa and cookies.
Though some lights will be lit up before the big event, many of the displays will be kept under wraps until Santa’s arrival. They will then stay lit up throughout the rest of the season.
After the tree lighting, the Slate Valley Museum and the Pember Library and Museum will keep up the festive feel for First Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.
The Slate Valley Museum will hold its second annual Festival of Trees. An assortment of trees decorated by various individuals, groups and organizations will be on glittering display. Adding to the mood will be hot chocolate and a bonfire in the cultural campus, model trains and more.
At the Pember will be a holiday market featuring artists, carolers and refreshments.
For food, Ali West from the H.N. Williams store in Dorset will bring samples of what the deli has to offer.
As a holiday market, the library will hold more than its usual number of artists—nearly a dozen artisans will be on hand with gift items to suit every taste.
Lynne Bitner will return with her Wildflower Graphics, for example, while Kathy and Dave Juckett will offer hand-carved spinning tops and knitwear. The library’s own Ardyce Bressett will be selling handmade cards, and Donna Henry will have retro aprons and boutique bags. Other goods include pottery, jewelry, dolls, crocheted wares, leather bags and more.
For more information call the Slate Valley Museum at 642-1417 or the Pember at 642-2525.
Lights of Wells
In nearby Wells, Vt., the community will be hosting a tree-lighting ceremony of its own.
The annual Lights of Wells event will take place Friday, Dec. 6 at 6:30 p.m. on the town green and features a famous red-suited man.
Everyone is welcome to attend the ceremony, which features more than a bright tree. Christmas music will set the mood, while Santa will stop by to visit with children and adults alike.
There will also be wagon rides for children of all ages. To help keep holiday merry-makers warm, the event will offer hot cocoa and other treats at all the town’s landmarks—the United Methodist Church, Wells Village Library and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
Saturday evening will bring with it a couple of events offering lively entertainment, which offer options for kids and adults alike.
Battle of the Bands
A deranged circus performer and a slew of area musicians will come together for a creepy and fun evening at the Granville FFA’s sixth annual Battle of the Bands Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.
Bands will compete for the glory in keeping with this year’s theme, Cirque Du Freak, an Undead Steam Punk Circus.
“We spent a lot of time developing the story this year,” said Technical Director Marc Billow, explaining that the storyline surrounds an ex-performer who curses his circus after being fired.
The students will show an introduction video and laser show, and then the battle will begin.
Six area bands—Calling Chicago, Ghosts on 33rd, Ash Tree Lane, Monte Cristo Snowman, Autopsy and the Granville jazz band—will play their hearts out in hopes of being named best band. In between, a number of lighter, closed-curtain acts will entertain the audience.
Billow said the lighting and sound this year will be a collaboration between teacher Brent Tuttle and student Heidi Smith; the students will run a live camera during the show that will stream live to two TVs in the cafeteria, so bands who have yet to perform can still see what’s happening.
“Between the talent and the technology, this is going to be the best show yet,” said Dan Truso, program director.
During the previous four years, the show, which is the FFA’s biggest fundraiser, has sold out. Wheeler said students from other nearby towns will flock to the event, as will adults and children.
Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. T-shirts will be sold for $10 at the event. To purchase tickets or for more information call 642-1051 or stop by the school.
Christmas Variety Show
Comedy, characters and Christmas music will provide steady amusement Saturday evening at a Christmas Variety Show at the Granville Hook and Ladder at 7 p.m.
Steve “Skeeter” Morse, who has historically put on the show, is teaming up with local firefighters for this year’s annual Christmas spectacular.
A theatrical event featuring a long list of popular holiday songs, and skits to go with them, the show will be a constant stream of entertainment.
“It’s different. People in this area just aren’t going to believe what they’ll see,” Morse said, explaining that the show is completely jam packed with characters, music, comedy and more.
Alvin and the Chipmunks will sing in their characteristic voices, and as the notes begin for “Frosty the Snowman,” Frosty himself will take the stage. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand as will several other Christmas celebrities.
The show, which Department Treasurer Dan Roberts and Morse say is aimed at both adults and children, will be interactive; audience members will have a chance to sing along to their favorite carols.
Included in the admission of $8 for adults and free for those eight and younger will be hot cocoa, coffee cookies and other refreshments. Firefighters will also cook up hamburgers and hot dogs for sale later in the show. There will be a 50/50 raffle during the event as well.
“I’d like to see people show up, because they’ll be so surprised to see what will show up,” Roberts said.
Tickets can be purchased by calling Morse at 932-3620 or at the Hook and Ladder on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Bazaars and markets
Several area organizations are holding holiday markets and bazaars this weekend to help jump start the Christmas shopping with local goods.
The West Pawlet Fire Department will hold a Christmas Bazaar and Flea Market from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. In addition to bazaar and flea market items, there will be a large food sale and face painting for children. For details, call 802-645-0174.
Nearby, the Whitehall United Methodist Church will hold its annual Christmas bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Offered will be crafts, cutlery, toys, Christmas decorations and other flea market items. Lunch, which includes soup, a sandwich, a drink and a cookie for $5, will start at 11 a.m., and take-outs are available. For more information call 518-499-0851.
The Pawlet Public Library will hold its sixth annual Holiday Market on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Carefully selected crafters and vendors are set to sell their goods at the event. For more information call 802-325-3123.