A crowd of 220 children and at least as many adults crammed the Horicon Town Hall Dec. 8 for the annual Christmas in Brant Lake celebration, which featured children creating holiday crafts including ornaments and gifts. The event has been sponsored by the Friends of the Horicon Library for 12 years.
Santa may have been a no-show this weekend in this rural lakeside town, but the Christmas spirit was thriving regardless.
No less than 220 children showed up Dec. 8 for the Christmas in Brant Lake event to create holiday crafts — considerably more than the routine annual number.
Sunday afternoon, the Horicon town hall was packed to capacity with area youth — plus their parents — as children fashioned decorations or gifts and decorated holiday cookies at more than a dozen different craft stations manned by 30 or so volunteer instructors.
Mid-afternoon, Chestertown preteen Olivia Slater had her hands stuck into a bowl filled with a concoction of green shredded wheat, glue and sparkles. She winced as she kneaded the colorful mess.
“At first, I was like ‘Uuuugh,” but it’s not so bad now,” she said of her task. The spiky green mixture was being formed into thick circles by children, adorned with decorations — and the outcome was an ornament looking remarkably like a holiday wreath.
“It’s really amazing,” Olivia continued. “I’ve never done this before.”
At a table nearby, her friend Katelyn Turano created decorated candle holders, fashioning them out of glass jars. Her mother Cindy Turano noted that the staff at the town of Chester landfill provided the many dozens of jars, retrieving them out of recycleables bins over the past several weeks.
Not far away, children made snowmen ornaments out of baby socks stuffed with polyester batting. Event organizer Kira Studler explained that the adults and teens staffing the craft tables and providing instruction brought their own ideas and supplied the materials needed.
Tom Johansen presided at a table where reindeer ornaments were made with wooden spoons, to which children attached googly eyes, and brown pipe cleaners for antlers.
Barbara Blum helped children make a different style reindeer ornament, constructed from wine corks that people in the community saved for months. The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Horicon Library. Community groups including the Horicon Volunteer Fire Co. Auxiliary and the Krafty Kritters helped staff the session. Auxiliary members brewed up the “snowman soup” that was handed out — the concoction of hot chocolate, marshmallows and Hershey’s kisses, stirred up with a candy cane. The liquid confection gave the children the “sugar buzz” that fueled their creativity.
While children were delving into creative projects inside the town hall, outside Chris Boggia of Circle B Ranch was leading horse-drawn wagon rides around the Brant Lake Mill Pond.
In an email this week, Sally Joiner of the Friends of the Horicon Library explained that Santa had to skip Brant Lake this year because of his workload.
“There are so many children that are asking for special gifts this year that Santa is working overtime to see that they are all ordered and delivered on time,” she said.
But regardless of Santa’s absence, event organizers said they had a record turnout for this beloved traditional event in northern Warren County. Studler looked at the standing-room-only crowd in the the town hall with dozens of children working on various crafts. “We’ve got a well-oiled machine going here,” she said. “And the turnout is really amazing considering Santa wasn’t here this year — It didn’t really make a difference!”
One more craft session scheduled for 2013
Next up for upcounty holiday fun is a program, also sponsored by the Friends of Horicon Library, in which children and their parents gather at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 at the Horicon Town Hall to make decorations for a live miniature Christmas tree, Joiner said.
“Children can take this potted Christmas tree home for their families, deliver it to a shut-in, or give it to a special friend or neighbor,” she said. “All are welcome to join us for what will be a fun and festive evening.”
Families participating in this upcoming session are asked to call event organizer Barbara Blum at 494-3357 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org so appropriate advance preparations can be made.