WOW’s DECEMBERFEST 2022 TO SPARKLE WITH TRADITIONAL AND NEW COMMUNITY EVENTS
Westfield on Weekends (WOW) has announced that the 2022 edition of DecemberFest, Westfield’s annual holiday celebration that mixes some popular traditional offerings with exciting new elements.
“Holidays in Westfield have always offered numerous opportunities for us to celebrate our diverse, active and vibrant community and our sixth annual DecemberFest calendar has many ways for families to make memories together,” said Bob Plasse, WOW President.
WOW’s annual Tree Jubilee will begin on Saturday, November 21 and continue thru Tuesday, December 7. For the third year, it will take place virtually, as well as at Roots Athletic Center at 181 Root Road, where visitors may view a wonderland of trees and wreaths, donated by area individuals, businesses and organizations.
As in past years, some of the more than 50 trees and wreaths have been designed by their crafters to reflect the work of their businesses or organizations with some, offering additional prizes and certificates within their branches. Raffle tickets will give participants the opportunity to take their favorite tree or wreath home, when the winners are drawn at the end of Tree Jubilee on December 8. Tickets can be purchased and submitted online through WOW’s website at westfieldonweekends.com.
This year’s Tree Jubilee is bigger and better than ever, according to Lisa Sunderland Burns, WOW board member and Jubilee Chair. “Each of the trees and wreaths is so unique from a blue and white polar bear tree to a festive Two Rivers Burritos pinata filled with candy to a North Pole wine tree.
“This year we even have holiday table top displays that folks can replicate in their homes,” Burns said. And of course, Many of the raffle items include certificates and merchandise worth hundreds of dolars.”
MAYOR’S TREE LIGHTING - SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Small Business Saturday (November 26) will feature the Mayor’s Tree Lighting on Park Square in downtown Westfield. A city tradition for decades, Mayor Mike McCabe will host the festivities that will offer Cocoa and Carols at 5:45 with the Westfield High School Pep Band under the direction of Patrick Kennedy followed by a performance of the Westfield High School Show Choir under the direction of Korey Bruno. The Mount Moriah Lodge will also offer hot chocolate to attendees
This year a very special arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus has been planned, just before the mayor lights the twenty-foot tree at 6:30 PM, followed by the opportunity for youngsters to visit Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Park Square Gazebo.
To enhance downtown holiday offerings and encourage folks to “Shop Local,” WOW will mount pop-up marketplace at WOW’s Creative Arts Center, 105 Elm Street on Small Business Saturday, November 26 (10am - 6pm), Saturday, December 3 (10AM – 4 PM) and Sunday, December 4 (12PM – 4PM).
The marketplace has a wide range of articles for purchase from home décor, soaps, ornaments, holiday trays, jewelry, pens and house plants to photographic art, hairbows, scrunches, headwraps. glassware, dolls, hats and clothing, among other gift-worthy items.
The rotating roster will include such vendors as Mehrnoush Art Painting, Back Porch Plants, Suez Creations, The Africana Store, Little Sunshine’s Creations, Usborne Books, Bethany Lynn Creations, and Scentsy Consultant Ashley Roman.
Glenn Yarnell Photography, Tally’s Treasures, Sassafras & Company, Black Sheep Workshop and Andrea Veras Children’s Books/Paintings and Artsome Home Décor, among others will also be in attendance.
Tickets for a lottery tree raffle to support community programming at the Center will also be available, as will a preview of WOW’s upcoming exhibit and sale of the artworks of James Johnson-Corwin.
DECEMBERFEST MUSIC PROGRAMMING
The free Up Close and Musical series that WOW produces with the Music Department of Westfield State will present two free musical evenings, including a DecemberFest Gala on Tuesday, December 6 at 7:30 PM at the university’s Scanlon Banquet Hall, 577 Western Avenue.
The Gala will include a performance of John Rutter’s “Requiem” by the University Chorus and Chamber Orchestra and selections of holiday favorites by the University Wind Symphony.
A Jazz Night of student ensembles will also take place on Thursday, December 8 at 7:30PM at Room 127 of the Catherine Dower Center for Performing and Fine Arts, 715 Western Avenue.
Funded by the Westfield Cultural Council with in-kind services provided by Westfield State, the Up Close and Musical series has been a staple in downtown Westfield since 2020 and with DecemberFest, it has been extended to include performances on the campus of Westfield State.
“WOW is thrilled to be able to promote the university’s larger on-campus calendar of musical events this season.” Kathi, Bradford, Director of the Center said. “Of course, our collaborative musical programming with the university at our downtown Creative Arts space will continue in the new year, but it is also important to discover the cultural resources on Western Avenue, as we work to build “town-gown” relations.”
“Our audiences are sure to recognize students whom they have enjoyed at the intimate concerts, in the casts and musical ensembles and we are thrilled to introduce the fine music and theatre being created at the university through this new programming,” she continued.
CHILDREN’S HOLIDAY PARTY
WOW’s children’s series Cupcakes, Cookies and Community will offer “A Frozen Holiday Journey,“ hosted by the Snow Sisters and their elf friend, Peppermint Patty at the Creative Arts Center on Friday, December 2 from 6:00 PM to 8:00PM.
Designed for children aged 3 to 8, it will be a dress-up interactive party with individual stops along the way exploring holiday celebrations throughout the world. Songs, fun, crafts and games that celebrate winter holidays throughout the world make this event particularly unique.
Advance reservations are required and may be made through the WOW website at westfieldonweekends.com or by calling 579-5967. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are $20 (1 parent and 1 child) with $5 for each additional child. Since the complete journey will take about an hour, attendees are asked to arrive no later than 7:15pm with doors opening at 6 pm.
Cupcakes, Cookies and Community is partially funded with a grant from the Westfield Cultural Council.
“MY FAVORITE THINGS” GALLERY EXHIBIT
Heralding a new year of presentations, WOW’s Creative Arts Center will debut “My Favorite Things,” spotlighting the work of Westfield artist, James-Johnson-Corwin on Saturday, December 17 and continuing until mid-February at 105 Elm Street. Please check the website for scheduled hours starting on December 18-22 and following our Holiday Break, January 9-February 15, 2023.
Johnson-Corwin explores mediums as well as publishing in a variety of print platforms throughout his career. Driven by the challenges of realism, inspired by the infectious colors of random pop art themes. Johnson-Corwin works in illustration, pastel, and a variety of acrylic painting techniques.
Working in various mediums, Johnson-Corwin’s work has been shown locally, as well as published in regional newspapers, magazines and trade publications for decades.
“Johnson-Corwin’s exhibit is a fine way for WOW to kick off a year-long celebration of its twentieth year of community programming.” Bradford said. “A long-time WOW board member, Jim’s work reflects a love of community and happy memories.”
"I'm looking forward to showing my collection of paintings in this unique gallery space in an historic building that is special to us in the city," said Johnson-Corwin. “Since my work is so often a reflection of my childhood, family life, places, things and memories, it is an honor to have it displayed by a community organization that has meant so much to me as a volunteer and Westfield resident.”
MENORAH LIGHTING CEREMONY/LATKES AND LIGHTS PARTY
To celebrate Chanukah, a Menorah Lighting Ceremony, produced by Ahavas Achim congregation of Westfield with assistance from the City and WOW will take place on Sunday, December 18 at 6:30PM on Park Square.
With a special invitation for members of all faiths to join them, Rabbi Shahar Colt and her congregation will celebrate the first night of Chanukah with prayers, songs and the lighting of Westfield’s menorah. Each candle of the menorah will be subsequently lit at sundown by members of the community for the remaining seven days of the holiday.
A special free Latkes and Lights party for all attendees, will be held after the lighting at First United Methodist Church, 16 Court Street.
HOLIDAY LIGHTS TOUR
The third Holiday Lights self-guided tour will offer families and businesses the opportunity to show off their outdoor holiday displays with each decorated home and business denoted on an interactive map found through the WOW website (westfieldonweekends.com.) and on WOW’s Facebook page.
To register a home or business, message Westfield on Weekends on Facebook with the address or email contact@email@example.com.
FUNDING AND GRANTS
Major funders for DecemberFest 2022 include Westfield G & E and Whip City Fiber; bankESB; Baystate Health and Baystate Noble Hospital; the City of Westfield; Westfield Bank; Advance Mfg.; Lisa Olesak-Sullivan, Realtor, Smithland Pet and Garden Center; Westfield State University; Health New England; C&S Wholesale Grocers; and Reminder Publishing.
In-kind assistance has been provided by the City of Westfield (Mayor’s Office, Police Department, Police Cadets, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Westfield High School and Community Development) and many volunteers. Additional funding has been provided with a grant from the Westfield Cultural Council, a local program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Funding for DecemberFest has been provided with grants from the Shurtleff Children’s Foundation, the Westfield Bank Future Fund and the Westfield Cultural Council, a local program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Westfield on Weekends is a 501 (c)(3) volunteer not-for-profit organization that’s mission is to produce diverse, accessible and affordable events that celebrate and enhance and enhance community life in Westfield.