NORRIDGEWOCK – It was raining outside, but the old Somerset Grange Room No.18 breathed the warmth inside as children decorated sugar cookies and created Christmas tree ornaments while their parents watched and listened to the tunes of “White Christmas”.
The city-hosted Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting event went as planned on Saturday at 1 p.m., despite a day that started with freezing rain and slippery roads.
âIt’s going really well,â said Valarie Trial, as she helped the kids decorate cookies at the Franklin Savings Bank and Bangor Savings Bank tables.
Dressed in a red Santa hat, white snowman apron and flashing tree light necklace, Trial, a member of the Norridgewock parks committee, said people were happy to celebrate the holidays after last season’s COVID-19 shutdown.
âIt’s nice to have that feeling of Christmas that just came back – to be back in town,â she said. âI think it’s good for the kids.
Emerson Chase, 8, and his brother, Weston, 5, visited the room with their parents, Glen and Mary.
âWe decorated cookies and made an ornament and had our hands painted,â Emerson said.
In third grade at Mill Stream Primary School in Norridgewock, she and her brother, a kindergarten child, also made reindeer food.
âI had an ornament and a star and a snowflake,â said Weston, producing his painted hands.
Glen Chase, a teacher at the Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, said the day was fun “despite the Grinch weather”.
Mary Chase, who teaches at the Skowhegan area high school, also enjoyed the events.
âAt this age the kids are so excited,â she said. âThey talked about it at school and some teachers and others volunteer. We are happy to be able to come and share the excitement, the excitement of Christmas.
Across the room, children were making tree ornaments from lids of soup cans painted in red, green and yellow, applying stickers and small snowflakes and glittering trees and tying feathers colored. Grange secretary Helen Balgooyen, wearing a colorful joker cap with small bells, and Dorothy Beeuwkes, helped the children.
Adjacent to the hall, built in 1866, the Norridgewock Historical Society was also busy as people of all ages walked in and out.
âIt’s good – a lot of young families are coming in and I’ve met new people in town,â said company president Becky Ketchum, who was on hand with company member Ruth Keister.
A table with candles, homemade whoopies, cookies and coffee added to the ambiance of the great room where visitors were greeted just inside the door. Two Christmas trees, one decorated by Ketchum with bird ornaments and the other with classic ornaments, also wowed the guests.
âA lot of people have never entered this building,â Ketchum said. âPeople are happy to go out. There wasn’t a lot of socializing.
The Grinch, dressed in bright green pants and a red coat, was racing down the road, waving to people. At Everett’s Tire Warehouse on Main Street, an old green Chevrolet pickup truck with a lighted Christmas tree in its bed was parked next to a sleigh and letterbox to accept letters to Santa Claus.
Across the street in Alice E. Emery Town Square, Ken and Brenda Morgan of Morgan Aviation and Kennebec Seaplanes stood in a tent near a fire pit, offering lollipops, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers for people of all ages. “White Christmas” sounded from a vehicle parked nearby.
âWe roast marshmallows and make s’mores,â said Brenda Morgan.
A home and business decorating contest sponsored by Skowhegan Savings Bank, a parade of illuminated tractors and lighting of trees in the square were also part of the afternoon activities.
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