2012-11-29 / Scene

Winterfest two days of holiday fun

Lapeer celebrates with annual festival Friday and Saturday

LAPEER — There is a chill in the air. The days are short. A light dusting of white still covers the ground after last weekend’s snowfall. Winter has finally arrived.

To welcome the new season, and to kick off the holidays, the annual Winterfest celebration takes place tomorrow and Saturday in downtown Lapeer. Starting Friday evening and continuing throughout the day on Saturday, Winterfest is the annual festival that celebrates winter, Christmas and the complete holiday season as a community.

Winterfest begins Friday at 4 p.m. with free horse drawn carriage rides and performances by local artists at Gallery 194. River Street Music & Cafe will hand out free cups of hot chocolate to Winterfest visitors until 6 p.m., which will help everyone stay warm for the festivities.

At 4:45 p.m., a ribbon cutting will be held at the newly refurbished Santa’s House, already in position in front of the Lapeer Farmers’ Market Pavilion. Once the ribbon is cut, Santa’s House will officially be open for the season, and local children and families can meet with the jolly old man in red from 5-8 p.m. Santa’s House will be open again on Saturday following the Christmas parade, until the last child in line is seen by Santa.

Also starting at 4 p.m. and continuing until 6 p.m. will be the annual Christmas Treat Walk through downtown Lapeer. Children and families can begin by picking up a treat bag and punch card at Gallery 194, and from there they can walk through downtown Lapeer collecting candy and treats from participating businesses. Much like the treat walk in October, the event is designed to give families a safe and fun way of celebrating the holidays along with bringing together the community and local businesses.

The annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will take place after the treat walk at 6 p.m. The large tree in front of the historic Lapeer County Courthouse will be officially lighted for the first time of the season. Student from Bishop Kelley Catholic School will perform a concert in the upper courtroom of the historic courthouse at 6 p.m. as well, and Winterfest visitors will be able to tour the building throughout the event from 5-8 p.m.

Also open from 5-8 p.m. Friday evening will be a winter market under the Farmers’ Market Pavilion.

Winterfest visitors will have the perfect opportunity to finish the evening by attending the opening performance of The Christmas Schooner at the PIX Theatre (See page 16 for full story). Produced by the Lapeer Community Theatre troupe with local actors, the heartwarming play tells the true story of a Michigan shipping captain who braves the deadly winter weather to bring Christmas trees to homesick German-American families in turnof the century Chicago. His voyages become a yearly tradition despite his wife’s misgivings, until a fateful voyage makes her realize the true importance of his mission.

The Christmas Schooner opens Friday at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances will be held at the PIX Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, and next weekend on Dec. 7-9. Tickets for the show are available at the door or in advance at the PIX Box Office.

On Saturday, Winterfest continues with the annual Christmas Parade at 11 a.m. The parade will run along Nepessing Street (east to west from Saginaw Street) through downtown Lapeer. Bringing up the rear of the parade will be Santa Claus, who will immediately go to Santa’s House to meet with children following the parade.

The Farmers’ Market will again host a winter market on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the historic courthouse will be open to touring visitors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Winterfest is a joint effort between the Lapeer Area Chamber of Commerce, the Lapeer Downtown Business Association and participating local businesses. For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at 810-664-6641 or go online to www.downtownlapeer.com.

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