Have some holiday fun in Vergennes

BILL CARMICHAEL REHEARSES some of the student cast members for the 2017 “Broadway Direct” show at the Vergennes Opera House. Bill will bring another crew of Broadway professionals and up-and-comers to the VOH on Dec. 3 for the 16th edition of Broadway Direct.
Independent file photo/Trent Campbell

VERGENNES — The Little City has a great tradition of having fun during the holiday season, and this year will be no exception. Join the Vergennes Partnership, the Bixby Memorial Library and the good people of Vergennes throughout December for a generous sprinkling of holiday festivities. See Santa and Mrs. Claus, and enjoy musical performances, craft-making, sweets and treats, story time and much more.

Although the pandemic has again prompted officials to call off the Holiday Stroll, there are still fun outdoor activities scheduled for several days in December, and Magic on Main is happening throughout downtown Vergennes on various dates.

The ball gets rolling on Dec. 3 with the return to the stage of “Broadway Direct.” This 16th edition of the annual show, which is often staged during the holidays, follows December 2020, when Bill Carmichael and his crew took a pass on the in-person performance (for obvious public health reasons) and instead produced five excellent Broadway Direct videos.

Carmichael and his friends will transport you to the lively theaters of Broadway with their big voices and exceptional theatrical talents. As always, the show will focus on the music and lyrics of memorable Broadway shows. For his 16th Broadway Direct this year, Carmichael, a Broadway professional actor who has called Vergennes home for more than 15 years, has called on the talents of Kathryn Markey and Elisa Van Duyne, all ably accompanied by Scott Nicholas

Also joining the pros will be a few up-and-coming performers from the region.

Broadway Direct begins on that Friday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. at the Vergennes Opera House; doors and cash bar hosted by Bar Antidote/Hired Hand open at 6:30 p.m. for general seating.

For some in Vergennes the real main event for the holidays begins the next day, Saturday, Dec. 4. It’s not the usual Holiday Stroll, but there is a lot of holiday about the day … plus Santa will be there. The centerpiece for the day will be the City Green, which is conveniently located right on Main Street close to stores for holiday shopping. But the first activity is a block down the hill at the Bixby Memorial Free Library Book Sale from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.

SANTA CLAUS IN a traditional red suit rides in a non-traditional red pickup truck through Vergennes last December to usher in the holidays in the Little City. Santa will return to Vergennes with a host of outdoor activities on Dec. 4.

When the kids want to take a break from shopping, there will be an event made for them on the green. Pictures in the Park with Santa will be held from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. The name pretty much says what will happen. The Jolly Elf himself will mingle in the open air and stand with kids to have a photo snapped by a parent or caregiver.

Vergennes Partnership Marketing and Development Coordinator Julie Basol was particularly glad to see this bit of holiday spirit-building return to Vergennes this year.

“Kids did not get pictures with Santa last year,” she said. “I’m hopeful for good weather to be able to do this outside under the bandstand.”

If you don’t get to bring a letter for Santa to the photo op, then drop off your letters to Santa beginning next weekend at the official North Pole mailbox at Malabar on Main Street. Kids: Don’t forget to include your name and mailing address in the letter, and Santa might just find time to write back to you.

As the sun goes down, the heat goes up as fire pits will be lit on the green and marshmallow melts will be made from 4 to 6 p.m. During that interlude, there will be a community holiday sing-along with members of the Vergennes Congregational Church Choir leading everyone with traditional holiday songs beginning at 4:30 p.m. Keep an eye out for the S.D. Ireland holiday cement truck, with is decorated with 10,000 twinkling light bulbs; it’s due to rumble through downtown at 5 p.m.

Following directly after that will be a reprise of an exciting event for the little kids: The Honkin’ Holiday Santa Sleigh Ride through the Little City. Look for Santa to swoop back in on a truck or an open car or a sleigh or who knows what. Basol said this was very popular last year.

But the events don’t stop after Dec. 4. The Champlain Valley Christian School Annual Holiday Cookie Sale will be held Saturday, Dec. 11, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Christian School in Vergennes.

The day is also the first of two craft-making workshops at the Bixby Library. On Dec. 11 from noon to 2 p.m. it’s “Build a Wreath” for those 15 and older. Then on Dec. 18, from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., younger kids are invited to the Bixby for “Ornament Making for Children” in the Community Room.

Downtown shops are planning special evening hours on Dec. 9. They are promising specials, surprises and more, so put it on your calendars. And the Vergennes Partnership says there are many additional promotions and events still in development.

The holiday spirit includes a lot of giving — but not just giving to family and friends, but also to people you may not know personally. That’s why the Vergennes Lions Club is holding its annual toy drive for kids who might not otherwise get a toy at Christmas. Drop-off bins for donations are being set up at Jackman Fuels, Kinney Drug Store, Dollar General, Shear Cuts, Gaines Insurance, Porky’s and One Credit Union. And on Dec. 8 Hollyhocks Flowers & Gifts will hold its annual Boxwood decoration fundraising event, via Zoom. Money raised will be donated to the Vergennes Food Shelf. Look for event details on their website, hollyhocksflowersvt.com, or social media.

What else is going on in Vergennes for the holidays?

The Vergennes Rotary is sponsoring its Holiday Lighting Contest. Head online to VergennesRotary.org to sign up your own display or to find out where the best-lit houses are located. The contest categories include: Most lights (the Clark W. Griswold-like display you can see from out space), Best Storytelling Scene (the display that shows your holiday story) and Most Festive (show Vergennes your best holiday spirit). Vergennesdowntown.org has promised to post a map of the Little City Light Tour so you can hoof around town between Dec. 24 and Jan. 1 to check it all out for yourself. And that could be a great way to wrap up a holiday season.

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