B y Krystle S. Morey

This Friday, Granville will be overtaken with holiday cheer Friday as the annual tree-lighting ceremony, holiday parade, Festival of Trees and Festival of Wreaths and more are set to transpire.
Festival of Trees
The evening begins at 4 p.m. with the Festival of Trees at the Slate Valley Museum and the Festival of Wreaths at the Pember Library and Museum.
At the Slate Valley Museum, the seventh annual Festival of Trees will feature decorated trees on display, carolers, snacks and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus from 4-5:30 p.m.
There will even be a tree with hats and mittens available to anyone who needs them.
Several of the trees, which have been decorated and donated to the museum by local organizations, businesses and crafty individuals, will be sold in a silent auction, which runs from Dec. 1-9. At exactly 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 9, the bids will be collected and the winners announced.
Proceeds from the auction benefit the Slate Valley Museum.
Festival of Wreaths
Across the Mettowee River footbridge, the Pember Library and Museum’s fourth annual Festival of Wreaths will begin.
At the Pember, wreaths will be available for purchase in a silent auction, carolers will sing and snacks will be available.
Bidding on wreaths will start Dec. 1 and close on Dec. 8. Winning bidders will be announced on Dec. 9.
Festivities at the museums continue through 9 p.m.
Santa Visits
At 4:30 p.m., a ticket booth will open for area youngsters to sign up for a time to visit with Santa.
As the event has grown, the village has started to schedule kids’ time with Santa in the park to make sure everyone gets to read their holiday wish list to the big jolly guy, said Rick Roberts, village clerk and holiday decorating committee chairman.
“People like to plan,” he said.
Scheduling time with Santa also allows time for folks to take a walk downtown to check out the other holiday festivities, Roberts said.
Starting at 6:30 p.m. children can meet with Santa, receive a gift, and get their picture taken with the jolly guy. Last year, more than 420 children met with Santa in the park.
Holiday Parade
A holiday parade will step off from the Great Meadow Federal Credit Union on East Main Street at 5:45 p.m.
Santa Claus, local law enforcement officials and firemen will parade down Main Street to Veterans Memorial park. The group will be accompanied by Santa’s Helpers, a group of nine second- and third-graders from the Mary J. Tanner School.
The students were chosen to ride along with the parade after exhibiting good behavior.
Tree lighting
Once at the park, at about 6 p.m., Gabriel Zellars has the important responsibility of waving a magic wand to illuminate the park lights and start the music.
“There are 40,000-plus lights in the park,” Roberts said.
The theme of this year’s tree lighting is “Granville’s Hallelujah.” The annual holiday celebration and tree-lighting will focus on the vocals this year, enlisting local signing groups to lead the crowd in singing Choir! Choir! Choir! and Rufus Wainwright’s version of “Hallelujah.”
“This song is simple, but moving,” Roberts said.
Programs with song lyrics and glow stick candles will be distributed throughout the park. Holiday decorations, lights and more will dance along with the music.
“This is a program we want people to participate in,” Roberts said. “If you come to the park … when it’s time to perform the song, you’re going to be the chorus.”
“I can’t sing a lick,” Roberts joked, noting that there will be pods of singers throughout the park to help lead the crowd. “There will be people of good voice standing next to you …. hopefully that makes people want to sing along.”
The song will also be played over the loud speakers throughout the park to help attendees follow along with the music.
Roberts said this year’s theme, “Hallelujah,” was chosen for a variety of reasons.
“We’ve had to have our shock absorbers on this year,” Roberts said, noting several deaths and other incidents that have affected the Granville community. “The climate nationally is also so polarized.
“This program is the antithesis of that,” he said. Adding: “We want everyone to be a part of the program. We want young people. We want old people. We want families… Everyone is welcome and we’re going to come together as one community and lay aside our differences and opinions.”
After the slow, more emotional “Hallelujah” performance, a faster, more upbeat song will be played.
“This will let the lights do their thing,” Roberts said.
Also available in the park, until 9 p.m., will be goodies and treats from area businesses, fire pits to roast s’mores, live reindeer, horse-drawn carriage rides and more.
Approximately 50 volunteers have spent the last several weeks untangling lights, hanging garland and setting up decorations around the village of Granville in preparation for the annual tree lighting.
“It’s greatly appreciated,” Roberts said.
Live nativity scene
Across the street from the park at the Granville Baptist Church, there will be a live nativity scene and children’s’ activities from 6-8 p.m.

 

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