By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Dec. 3, 2020) As the most wonderful time of the year approaches, the town of Berlin, businesses and organizations have planned holiday activities for families.
This Thursday is Men’s Holiday Shop Night in downtown Berlin from 5-8 p.m.
Merchants will help men find the gifts they need this year, then wrap them up, while the men enjoy light refreshments.
For more holiday fun, Buckingham Presbyterian Church, 20 S. Main St., is hosting a family outdoor movie night on the front lawn and a modified version of the annual tree decorating and lighting on Friday at 5 p.m. The church will feature the animated Christmas movie “The Star.”
“I would recommend people bundle up and we will have a few small campfires going for families to sit around,” said Lindsay Ashton, youth group coordinator and events and activities director for the church. “We will be providing hot dogs, chips and beverages free of charge while they last.”
Clean and gently used shoes for the Got Shoes program will be accepted Friday evening.
Buckingham Presbyterian Church is also leading a sheep trail in downtown Berlin shops.
Participants can find trail cards in the vestibule at the Berlin Welcome Center at 14 S. Main St. and at the following shops where the sheep are hidden: Victorian Charm, Fathom, Life’s Simple Pleasures, On What Grounds?, Sisters, World of Toys, Island Creamery, East and Main Shore Supply and Apparel, Patty Jeans, Heart of Gold Kids, Treasure Chest, Church Mouse, Stuart’s Antiques, Bruder Hill and Bruder Home.
There is also a missing sheep at Buckingham Presbyterian Church in the decorated window.
Participants should write down the name of the sheep next to the store name on the trail card while hunting the sheep along Main Street.
Completed trail cards can be returned to the Berlin Welcome Center or Buckingham Presbyterian mailbox located next to the blessing box.
Completed trail cards that are returned by each Friday at 3 p.m. will be entered into a prize drawing. All completed trail cards are due by Dec. 24. A grand prize will be drawn on Christmas morning.
Rancho Fiesta Farm, 11323 Worcester Highway, will welcome shoppers to its outdoor holiday arts market on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., weather permitting.
“We’re featuring local artists and artisans,” said Emily Collins, who owns and operates the 23-acre farm with her husband, Cody Randel. “Everything is handmade.”
Products for sale will include original artwork, bath products, wood carvings, mead, hand-poured candles, iron skillet coffee, custom products for dogs, ornaments, stationary, wine crates, cutting boards, pottery and jewelry.
Twelve to 15 vendors are expected at the market, and will include The Buzz Meadery, Iron Skillet Coffee, AnnaRoma Soaps, Stepping Stone Soaps, Chapsmaketory, Denny’s Dingys, Don Fiedler, Delaware Bay Clay, Honey Water Candles, Lisa Penn Art, Love Letters, Nicki Jacobs Pottery, Salty Soul Creatives, Tail Waggs Co. and Usborne Books.
Collins encourages shoppers to bring cash and credit or debit cards, depending on the vendor’s preferred payment method.
“We know it’s a really strange and difficult time for people right now, especially small businesses and local artists [and] artisans, so we wanted to have a safe outdoor space. We wanted to provide that for them, so they could sell their products,” Collins said. “We wanted to come up with a creative and safe way to share our property with the community but also support local artists and businesses during this time and encourage people to shop small.”
Josh Pryor will entertain shoppers with a guitar performance, while Allison Barton from the Children’s Book Garden will host a children’s storytime.
Santa Claus will also make an appearance, and there will be a holiday-themed activity for children for part of the event.
“We take the virus very seriously,” Collins said. “We’ll be monitoring attendance to make sure everything stays safe for everyone.”
Masks and social distancing guidelines will be enforced. Collins added that signage will be throughout the property to remind shoppers of safety practices.
There will be a tentative reschedule date for the event if there is poor weather on Sunday.
Masks are also mandated during 2nd Friday when the downtown shops are open late and the first night of the Light Up Berlin: Holiday House Decorating Contest and Tour on Dec. 11 from 4-9 p.m.
The Light Up Berlin: Holiday House Decorating Contest and Tour is a self-directed event throughout the month. A map of participating houses will be available on Facebook and berlinmainstreet.com.
Judging for the contest will occur Dec. 16 and Dec. 17. The winners of the Clark Griswold Award for brightest display, the Kevin McCallister Award for most creative house, the George Bailey Award for most traditional house and the Charles Dickens Award for most ‘spirited’ house will be announced on Dec. 18. Other surprise awards will be given throughout the contest as well.
Winner signs will be placed in yards and households will receive prizes from local businesses.
Throughout the month of December, downtown Berlin shop windows will display work from local artists, including Patti Backer, Barbara Scheihing, Mitzi Ash, Isabel Morris, Kate Cashman, Debbi Dean-Colley, Nick and Leanne Pear, Brian Robertson and Randy Jenkins.
Their creations can be seen at The Dusty Lamb, Heart of Gold Kids, Fathom, Viking Tree, Pop’s Kitchen, Madison Avenue Boutique, Baked Dessert Café, Una Bella Salute, Bruder Home and Bruder Hill.
Residents and visitors can see more at local galleries, such as Wooden Octopus, The Greyhound Independent Bookstore and Fine Art Gallery,
Worcester County Arts Council, Henry Fine Arts Gallery and Jeffrey Auxer Designs.
Furthermore, Berlin residents and visitors are invited to write a letter to Santa, then drop it in the mailbox in the vestibule at the Berlin Welcome Center until Dec. 18. Children will receive a letter back from Santa and a coupon for a treat from a downtown business.
In addition, Buckingham Presbyterian Church will present a live Nativity pageant on Dec. 18 at 5 p.m. on the front lawn.
Free carriage rides are being offered on weekends in December at Pitts Street from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. All riders must wear face coverings and only one family or group is permitted at a time.