This weekend, both Ellington and Somers will be bustling with holiday cheer. In Ellington, the annual Winterfest and tree-lighting ceremony will take place, and it’s Dickens Weekend in Somers.
The Winterfest celebrations begin on Friday night with at live nativity at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. and an Ellington Singers Holiday Concert at the Hall Memorial Library at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, the festivities kick off at 10 a.m. with a holiday ornament workshop (four sessions to choose from) at the library. Pre-registration is required and free tickets can be picked up at the library.
The Nellie McKnight Museum will be holding an open house and the Ellington Congregational Church will be holding a community carol sing. Also at the church, visitors can also view the entries in the gingerbread house contest.
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At 3:45 p.m., the tree-lighting and festivities on the green will begin. There will be remarks from town dignitaries, the fourth grade chorus will sing, Frosty the Snowman, Santa, and Mrs. Claus will mingle with the visitors, and the tree will be lit at 4:30 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., the torchlight parade will begin.
From 5 p.m. until 7 p.m., there will be an open house at the library that will include music from the Windermere School Instrumentalists and the Ellington High School chorale.
The live nativity at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints will take place from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m.
The Ellington Congregational Church will be offering moderately priced dinner items – sponsored by the Women’s Fellowship group – from 4 p.m. until 6:30 p.m. Free refreshments will be available at the Ellington Senior Center – sponsored by the Ellington Women’s Club – from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. and at the library – sponsored by the library board and the Friends of the Library from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.
When Dickens Weekend in Somers started, every retail shopping location dressed up as Dickens Characters for the first weekend of December, served refreshments in every location, collected food for Champ’s Place, and offered a festive way to start the holiday shopping season locally with holiday music and seasonal refreshments.
These days, everything is the same except that no one dresses up anymore.
According to Lori LaDue from Beautiful Things Interiors & Gifts, shoppers can stop at any store and pick up a treasure hunt card – a fun holiday poem – and when they stop at any store in town, they can add a sticker to their playing card. If they get five stickers, they are entered in a raffle for a $25 gift certificate to any store in town and if they get 10 stickers, they are entered into a $50 raffle. Playing cards can be dropped off at their final destination.
LaDue said that some stores offer promotions or a small free gift for stopping in. LaDue said that people from many places in Connecticut and nearby Massachusetts come by for the festivities.
She said that years ago, Somers was more of a shopping destination with several more stores – many have closed – but that there are still a fair amount of small businesses that participate.
The 13 participating stores are: Crossroads Gifts and Greetings, Colonial Flower Shoppe, The Treasure Box, Kassandra's Herbs Unlimited, Knitting Criations, Beautiful Things Interiors & Gifts, oneTribe, LUXE Beauty & Brows, Margaret's Country Shoppe, Equestrian Collection and Antiques, eM framing, Somersvillage Gifts & Gourmet Baskets, and Finishing Touches. For more info call Judy from Crossroads Gifts and Greetings at 860-749-9281 or Kassy from Kassandra's Herbs Unlimited at 860-749-0839.
In addition, at 5 p.m. on Sunday, the tree-lighting ceremony will take place at the Somers Fire Department. Music will be provided by the sixth graders at Mabelle B. Avery Middle School and the Lions Club will be serving chili.