Christmas in Weston celebrates 35 years

Horse-drawn carriage. Photo by Jo Robbins

WESTON, Vt. – Christmas in Weston was celebrated for the 35th year with a daylong festival Dec. 7 in the center of this idyllic village surrounded by the Green Mountain National Forest and nestled along the banks of the West River. Weston was incorporated in 1799 and the entire village is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

As you climb and wind around the hills and valleys while driving along scenic Route 100 through this part of Vermont, you are transported back in time when you arrive in Weston during the holidays. It is the quintessential Christmas village, a Norman Rockwell moment.

There were activities for all ages at the galleries, shops, museums, and inns throughout the village, as well as raffles and food sales at designated vendors. There were signs “Santa Stop Here” in front of the Weston Village Christmas Shop, which was crowded with visitors looking for holiday decorations and gifts. Owner Lynn Smith was serving cookies and said this festival has been building over the years.

The festival raises money every year and donates the proceeds to a local nonprofit organization. This year the recipient is The Little School on Lawrence Hill Road, a preschool that offers an opportunity for families who reside in the towns of Chester, Andover, Ludlow, Cavendish, Peru, Landgrove, and Londonderry to choose quality early education for their children ages 2 to 5 years. According to Anna Allison, a staff member at the nonprofit preschool, the proceeds of the festival will go entirely back into the school to help pay teachers’ salaries and keep the school running.

The Village Green. Photo by Jo Robbins

Weston is also home to the iconic The Vermont Country Store on Main Street, founded in 1946, and known as the first restored rural general store in the nation. On this day, it was packed with shoppers getting one-of-a-kind gifts for Christmas or just enjoying the magic of the decorations and feel of this unique Vermont store that offers a wide variety of products from soaps and dishes to clothing and brand-name toys.

At the Wilder Memorial Library on Lawrence Hill Road, known as a “Jewel in Weston’s Crown,” visitors enjoyed homemade Christmas cookies and children made birdseed ornaments with the assistance of four of the library’s professionals, Debbie Granquist, Chair of the Board; Trustees Joanne Prouty and Donna Bonang (emeritus); and Christine Mix, interim library director. Downstairs at the children’s library and reading room, a group of young preschoolers listened to a storyteller read to them from the classic “The Night Before Christmas.”

This unique brick building has history and significance to the town and is the only public library in Weston. It was the residence of the honorable Judge John Wilder, who lived there in 1827 and was postmaster of Weston from 1830 until 1851. Wilder was a town selectman, a state representative, and also served as state senator from 1858 -1859. In 1909, the building was purchased by Wilder’s descendants, renovated, and then sold to the town of Weston.

Two horse-drawn carriages picked up and dropped off passengers at the rear entrance of The Vermont Country Store. While they trotted up and down Main Street, you could hear “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” sung by adults and children. There was a line of people waiting to ride in those wagons.

The Weston Fire Department served hamburgers and hot dogs at the Village Green where more caroling music was coming from speakers on the bandstand. Hot chili, macaroni and cheese, and holiday cookies were served at the Weston Playhouse. Inside The Little School there was face painting and arts and crafts as well as logo t-shirts for sale. Outside the school, there was sausage and peppers and hot cider available. Weston Village Store had a fire pit for toasting marshmallows while Christmas music was coming from literally everywhere.

What began as an overcast, blustery day with an ominous sky settled into the early afternoon with peeks of occasional sunshine. The aromas, sights, and sounds filled the senses and evoked the nostalgia of an old-fashioned Christmas for people of all ages who came to Weston to participate in and appreciate the experience.

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