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Wassail Weekend in Woodstock Vermont

From The Blog Everything you need to know about Wassail Weekend 2018

Brimming with holiday cheer December 7-9

Indoor beside a crackling fire or out in the swirling snow, a happy feeling will warm you from head to toe during Wassail Weekend in Woodstock!

Holiday tales with historical flair, house tours with halls decked with boughs of holly, yule logs that draw the whole town near, artisan markets with one-of-a-kind gifts, luminaries lit with care for those present and gone, and performances where everyone has a part. These are just a few of the things that make Wassail Weekend a magical, memorable experience for all who visit.

Don't wait. Book a room. Make dinner reservations. Buy tickets to Wassail activities. Now's your chance to join in on an event unlike any other.

Wassail Peppermint
Wassail Weekend Parade

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7…

You’ll find a flurry of activity kicking off the 34th Annual Wassail Weekend!

As you pass through the village stores swathed in garland and lights that twinkle like stars, down Elm Street, stop at number 23 for the first ever Artisan Market! From 10 AM to 5 PM, step indoors for a touch of warmth and shopping. There, you’ll find pottery, sweet confections, local cheeses, piping hot coffee, spirits, and locally-made wares perfect for holiday presents. Vendors include:

  • Ambrosia Confections
  • Laura White Pottery
  • ArtistinJune
  • Pretty Pillowcase
  • Depalo Coffee
  • Silo Distillery
  • Vermont Farmstead Cheese Co.
  • New England Hot Fudge
  • Erin Kaukas Designs
  • Fiona Davis Pottery
  • Veronica DeLay Pottery
  • Mettowee Valley Maple

  • Hector Santos

If you miss opening day, don’t fret! The market is back 10 AM – 5 PM Saturday, 10 AM – 4 PM Sunday.

Just outside of the village center, Billings Farm & Museum will transport you into the 19th century as you enter the farmhouse bedecked in historic holiday decorations, open from 10 AM – 4 PM. Linger near the kitchen door as treats are baked on the woodstove, then see stockings hung from the chimney with care, or craft your own historic ornament! Tickets are $16 - $4 depending on age, available at the door.

At 4 PM, fun at Norman Williams Public Library (located at 10 The Green) begins when Scott Davidson delivers a jaunty holiday tale (free).

Then, after the sun sets and the village is ablaze with holiday lights, head to the Woodstock History Center for their Wassail Open House from 5 – 7 PM. Inside, you’ll find merry holiday displays, steaming hot cider, seasonal treats, Celtic music, and even a silent auction at this complimentary event.

Wassail Open House
Wassail Open House at the Woodstock History Center

Later, for a dose of the warm and fuzzies, cozy up with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet for a 7:30 PM showing of The Holiday, presented by Pentangle Arts at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre. $5 tickets available online and at the door.

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8…

Get the little ones ready for a breakfast with Santa they won’t forget! From 8 – 11 AM, you’ll find all-you-can-eat pancakes and Saint Nick at the Little Theatre, a quaint stone building perched atop the Ottauquechee River at 54 River St. Breakfast also includes sausage, fruit, coffee, tea and juice.

And this sweet event offers more than a breakfast buffet with your name on it: it comes complete with a silent auction, crafts provided by ArtisTree Community Arts Center, and photos with the jolly old fellow himself! Gluten and dairy-free pancakes available. $10 for adults / $5 for children 12 and under (all proceeds go to Rainbow Playschool). Please enter on the east side of the building closest to the bridge.

Christmas tree

Historic village homes that line the green are something right out of a fairytale – and you can tour them inside and out from 9:30 AM – 2 PM! During the 17th Annual Holiday House Tour, visitors will travel door-to-door via a horse-drawn wagon to walk the halls of Woodstock’s most charming homes.

View these village beauties decked in their seasonal best, featuring floral decorations by Birds of a Flower and the Woodstock Garden Club. Then, head to the Prince & the Pauper Restaurant for a reception from 11 AM – 1:30 PM exclusively for tour participants!

Tickets for these self-guided tours are available through Pentangle Arts, early bird $35 (by November 30) / regular price $45 / kids 17 & under free.

Or head to the end of the green toward the old St. James Church as they throw open their doors for a bit of holiday cheer for all! From 10 AM – 12 PM, guests can tour the building while enjoying complimentary refreshments and fun holiday crafts for the kids.

If you're in the market for beautiful handmade pottery, head to Farmhouse Pottery for their open house at the Woodstock store (1837 West Woodstock Rd. (Rt 4)) from 10 AM – 3 PM!

Christmas at the Billings Farm
Christmas at the Billings Farm

From 10 AM – 4 PM, it’s Christmas at Billings Farm! Immerse yourself in the traditions of a 19th century Vermont Christmas, complete with the authentically decorated farmhouse, dairy farm exhibits, interactive programs, and make-your-own historic ornaments workshops. Tickets are $16 - $4 depending on age, available at the door.

Looking to get a little shopping done, Vermont-style? Check out these two wonderful winter markets:

  • Artisan Market at 23 Elm St from 10 AM – 5 PM. Vendors include: Laura White Pottery, Ambrosia Confections, New England Hot Fudge, Artisan June, Silo Distillery, Pretty Pillowcases, Erin Kaukas Designs (handbags), and more.
  • Craft Fair at the Masonic Lodge at 30 Pleasant St from 10 AM – 4 PM. Free parking available behind the lodge.
Eyes on Elm in snow
Katie Berdan

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green;
Here we come a-wand'ring
So fair to be seen.

Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too...

    As the holiday hubbub takes you back and forth across the green, why not stop at the pop-up Wassail Café, taking up residence in the center of it all from 11 AM – 3 PM? There, you’ll find servings of mac and cheese, chili, Wassail, and more – hot and ready to eat!

    Warm yourself inside and out at 26 Elm St during the Silent Auction and Wassail at the Woodstock History Center – where admission is free for all! There, local artisans showcase their crafts while art, dining, and gift opportunities abound in the silent auction. For a nominal donation, explore the nooks and crannies of the history center during guided tours – or fortify yourself with hearty soups with a side of corn bread, dessert, and a warm beverage for a small fee. Happening from 11 AM – 4 PM.

    Then, head to Norman Williams Public Library to while away the last few hours before the grand parade. There, Ham Gillett will deliver readings of A Child’s Christmas in Wales at 12 and 1 PM, and those young and old can partake in holiday crafts at 1 PM (free).

    Wassail Weekend
    Wassail

    As the clock strikes 2, it’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for: the 34th Annual Wassail Parade! Line the streets around the green for a cavalcade of clopping hooves, tossing manes, jolly jingling bells, tall top hats, flowing skirts, and merriness all around. Watch as petite ponies and mighty Percherons pass, carrying their cargo of children in candy cane stockings, adults in historic finery, heavy carts, and Santa himself!

    At the fanfare’s end, you’ll find the parade pooper scooper dressed to the nines as he skates through town, shoveling up what the horses left behind. Stay till the crowds depart for an affair that’s Vermont tradition, beauty, and humor all rolled into one. Coordinated by High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program and the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce.

    The parade’s conclusion doesn’t mean the fun has to end! Gather round the neatly stacked yule log at the green’s center during the first lighting at 3 PM – the crowd and kindling alike crackling with color and warmth. The Memory Tree will also have its inaugural lighting, twinkling in memory of those who have passed – their names printed in the Vermont Standard the week of Wassail celebrations ($5 per name suggested donation). Presented by the Woodstock Rotary Club.

    Also at 3 PM, choose from two complimentary a Capella concerts (limited seating):

    • The Ten-A Cappella group performing at the First Congregational Church at 36 Elm St
    • A powerful performance at Norman Williams Public Library at 10 The Green

    As the sky grows dim, keep the little ones snug, warm, and busy with preschool crafts in the Abbot Room at Norman Williams Public Library, or bundle up and step outside for the lighting of hundreds of luminaries on the green by the Woodstock Rotary Club, both at 4 PM (free).

    Norman Williams Public Library in Snow
    Norman Williams Public Library in Snow

    Later, eat like royalty at the Woodstock Inn & Resort’s Wassail Celebration Feast, a three-course savory celebration of the history of Wassailing, commencing at 5:30 PM. $68 for adults / $34 for children 4-14 / children 4 and under free. Contact the inn for reservations.

    At 7:30 PM, in the dim glow of candlelight, listen to Eugene Friesen as he weaves a beautiful melody from his cello during an evening concert at North Chapel at 7 Church St. $15 tickets sold at the door.

    Còig

    Then, the day of Wassail festivities concludes with a powerhouse performance by Còig, one of today’s most exciting new North American Celtic groups!

    This non-traditional trad show combines fiddle, piano, guitar, banjo, mandolin, and more for fiery Celtic holiday tunes that are sure to bring the house down.

    Presented by Pentangle Arts at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre from 8 – 10 PM. Tickets are available online, $40 for adults / $35 for Pentangle members / $20 for kids 5-17.

    SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9…

    For Wassail Weekend shopping, today’s the final day to check out these two pop-up markets:

    • The Craft Fair at the Masonic Lodge (30 Pleasant St), happening from 10 AM – 2 PM. Parking is complimentary behind the lodge.
    • The Artisan Market at 23 Elm St, happening from 10 AM – 4 PM. Vendors include: Laura White Pottery, Ambrosia Confections, New England Hot Fudge, Artisan June, Silo Distillery, Pretty Pillowcases, Erin Kaukas Designs (handbags), and more.

    Then, step back in time with Christmas at Billings Farm! From 10 AM – 4 PM, walk through the 1890s farmhouse dressed in historic holiday splendor, catch a farm exhibit, craft your own authentic ornaments, take a refreshing sleigh ride (Sunday only), and more! Tickets are $16 - $4 depending on age, available at the door.

    horse-drawn sleigh ride at Billings Farm
    Billings Farm staff photo
    Sleigh rides around the farm.

    From 11 AM – 12 PM, join author and illustrator Kristina Rodanas for a celebration of Huck's Way Home, the heartfelt children's tale of a young steer's adventures as he finds his way back home to Billings Farm! Meet-and-greet the author and even get your own copy signed at Yankee Bookshop. This story is based on true events and is appropriate for all ages!

    Before checking in with Kevin McCallister during a showing of Home Alone at the Woodstock Town Hall Theatre at 3 PM – get there an hour early for a round of cookies with jolly old Saint Nick! Presented by Pentangle Arts. $5 tickets available for purchase online, and keep the change, ya filthy animal.

    At 4 PM, take your place in 35 years of tradition at Pentangle Arts’ Annual Community Messiah Sing, a concert featuring a world-class ensemble, four soloists, and you – as singers perform a stirring rendition of the Christmas portions of Handel’s Messiah! Happening at Our Lady of the Snows Roman Catholic Church at 7 South St. $10 suggested donation.

    Messiah 2016
    Copyright © 1980-2018 Photos by Nanci. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

    Then, love (and maybe a flurry or two) is in the air during a showing of Love, Actually! End Wassail Weekend with this film featuring nine interwoven tales that examine what connects us all: love – in a 7:30 PM showing at The Woodstock Town Hall Theatre, presented by Pentangle Arts.

     

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