A youngster encounters Santa Claus during the 2012 edition of Christmas in Warrensburgh. This annual festival, which emphasizes traditional activities and values, is to be held Saturday Dec. 7 and Sunday Dec. 8 throughout Warrensburg. This year's 25th annual edition of the fest features a variety of new family-oriented attractions. (See article for schedule and details). Photo by John Franchini
While many people spend early-December weekends rushing around between malls to shop for consumer goods, others head for Warrensburg to experience the traditional ambiance and activities of the holiday season.
Christmas in Warrensburgh, set this year for Saturday Dec. 7 through Sunday Dec. 8, is the treasured event that’s entranced both local residents and visitors for a quarter-century with its array of activities that embrace a bygone era.
This unparalleled celebration of the holidays features craft demonstrations and sales, caroling, church bazaars, children’s activities, traditional acoustic music, gift shopping, a hometown tree-lighting ceremony and profound hospitality throughout the community.
For this 25th year of the family-friendly festival that annually heralds in the holidays, several new attractions have been planned.
As the festival is known for highlighting the more reflective aspects of the Christmas season, a living nativity has been planned, featuring local children. This scenario is to be held from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday Dec. 7 in front of Alexander funeral home, on Main St. midtown. The event is complete with caroling and refreshments.
Also new this year is mule-drawn wagon rides, both Saturday and Sunday, conducted in front of the Warrensburg Senior center on Main St. just south of the historic town bandstand.
Also new at this year’s edition of the festival is an indoor holiday market — only on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. — that features locally produced crafts as well as produce from area farmers.
Also a first for the festival is two Breakfast with Santa events, rather than one. They’ll be conducted from 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at both New Way Lunch downtown and Bill’s Restaurant uptown, both on Main St.
Event founder Teresa Whalen said Sunday it’s been heartwarming to see more and more people each year discovering the holiday traditions that Christmas in Warrensburg emphasizes.
“Our holiday festival has grown and flourished, and has enjoyed ever-increasing appeal to visitors who come here and stay for a weekend,” she said.
This year’s theme, “And the Bells shall Ring Out,” refers to the ringing of church bells throughout Warrensburg on the day of the town’s Bicentennial this past Feb. 12 and around Warren County for the county’s bicentennial on March 12 — and the Warrensburg holiday fest will be the observing these two milestones. Christmas in Warrensburgh will be last of the sanctioned events observing these two milestones. A secondary theme of Christmas in Warrensburgh, Whalen said, is about sustainable living in our local community — including a focus on locally produced, handcrafted foods and goods.
For a quarter-century, Christmas in Warrensburgh has brought people of all ages together in a festive spirit, and promoted spiritual and cultural enrichment, she said.
“Our theme embraces aspects of small-town life in our community we’re thankful for and we’re happy to share with others,” she said. “It’s all about sharing an old-fashioned holiday celebration in the Adirondack Mountains.”
Schedule of Events:
Friday activities include:
• Christmas-themed readings presented by authors, 7 p.m. at Willows Bistro, Main St. downtown.
• Animated Christmas movie, followed by a children’s craft workshop, 7 p.m. at the Free Methodist Church, on River St. northwest from downtown.
Saturday’s activities include:
• Warrensburg Town Hall is converted into “Toyland,” complete with a variety of children’s activities from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.. Here, children will be making gingerbread houses, ornaments and other crafts including wooden toys. Also, Santa will be visiting with live reindeer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. There will be bake sales and food concessions, and holiday postal cancellations. Photos with Santa will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Mid-day activities include local school bands playing holiday music.
• Mini-Festival of Trees, showcasing various decorating ideas for the holidays, from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. Saturday at Cecilia’s Catholic Church.
• Living nativity, noon to 4 p.m. Saturday only — complete with caroling and hot chocolate — in front of Alexander Funeral Home, Main St. midtown.
• At most all the churches downtown, there will be bazaars and food sales. Plus, a food and craft sale is also featured at the Countryside Adult Home, Schroon River Rd.
• Craft demonstrations and sales will also be held, at Riverside Gallery and Miller Art & Frame, with traditional rug hooking, spinning and weaving.
• Mule-drawn wagon rides, featuring Belgian mules from Our Simple Life Farm, 10 a.m.-noon on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday.
• A new Holiday Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, featuring Adirondack crafts and local farmers’ produce, both new this year and situated at the Warrensburg Senior Center on Main St. Free zumba mini-classes at the market are an extra feature.
• Story telling for children from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Richards Library, while adults take a tour and see the library’s new addition and extensive renovations.
• Sacred and classical Christmas music performed by James Corriveau, family and friends, at about 7 p.m. Saturday in St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church on Main St.
• Open houses at various local businesses.
• Pet photos with Santa, 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Nemec’s Sporting Goods northern Main St.
• Book signings and readings by local authors, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at Willows Bistro on Main St. midtown.
• The annual tree-lighting ceremony at the uptown Floyd Bennett Memorial Bandstand is at 6 p.m. Saturday, featuring the arrival of Santa, caroling, music, hot chocolate and cookies. The event features live music by a local youth band. Participants are asked to bring bells to ring to celebrate the town and county’s Bicentennial.
• Concert of sacred music featuring vocals by Jim Corriveau, family and friends, at 7 p.m. in St. Cecilia’s Catholic Church, Main St. downtown.
• Holiday dinner specials offered at local restaurants.
Sunday’s activities include:
• Holiday craft fair, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Echo Lake Lodge off Hudson St., with dozens of artisans and crafters demonstrating and displaying their wares.
• Breakfast with Santa, at 10 a.m. to noon on Sunday at both New Way Lunch downtown and Bill’s Restaurant uptown, both on Main St.
• On both days, the Warrensburg Museum of Local History is featuring their “Doll Houses & Room Boxes” holiday exhibit from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m — as well as children’s activities.
Whalen said she was excited about the celebration’s landmark 25th anniversary.
“This event is for families and children — a time for our community to get together to share the holiday spirit,” she said. “It’s been a quarter-century of music, magic and memories.”