Christmas in the Village starts Friday

ESCANABA — It is starting to look a lot like Christmas in Escanaba, especially with the annual Christmas in the Village event. Christmas in the Village takes place Friday and Saturday at the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Association’s Antique Village on the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds.

The village opens for the festivities from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8.

The event is always held on the first full weekend of December, Jon Paul, the association’s board member and secretary, said.

This old-time Christmas event is one of three that is put on by the association every year. The association is a non-profit organization used to carry on the tradition of agriculture. Paul said it was created by individuals with a love of old machinery.

The whole village will be decorated in an old-fashioned Christmas theme to get everyone in the holiday spirit.

“Pretty much every shop in the village will be open,” Paul said.

From the museum with roasting chestnuts for all to the glass blowing demonstrations in the glass shop — the village will be abuzz with activities for residents to enjoy.

“The Cook Shack will be open,” Paul said. “There will be fried bread, chili and sandwiches for people to buy. There will be other goodies as well.”

Some of these other goodies Paul speaks of is the antique cookie sale that’s located in the Ice Cream Shop in the village. He explained members of the association make their favorite old time cookie recipes and sell them at the event. He said there will also be hot chocolate and hot

apple cider sold at the cookie sale.

There will be additional vendors in the Community Hall. Paul said the vendors include artisans and crafters selling their goods, like woodworking and hand-sewn items.

“There is between eight to 10 different vendors from the community,” he said.

Santa Claus will also beat the event for children to visit.

“He’ll be set up in the Old Schoolhouse in the village,” Paul said.

There will be a can raffle and a quilt raffle. For the can raffle, people can purchase raffle tickets and place them in the cans associated with the items they want to win. Paul said there are some really nice items going to be raffled off. He said the association draws the winning tickets for each prize at the end of the event.

The quilt raffle is a an annual event. The Sisters of Steam, a women’s organization within the association, makes and donates a quilt as a prize for a raffle during the Christmas in the Village event. Paul explained every year the quilt has a theme and is made accordingly.

Bonfires for s’mores and keeping warm during the outing will be set up in the Business Square of the village.

Two tractor-pulled wagons and one horse-drawn carriage will be prepared for rides around the village. Paul said the rides are free, but there will be a free-will donation bucket on the carriage.

This year there are new activities planned at the Old Village Chapel, which is also new to the village itself. From noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Father Thomas Geirke and Father James Alaniz will be explaining the history of the Nativity scene and at 7:15 p.m. they will be conducting a Latin mass.

Paul said there is a piano in the chapel and Christmas songs will be performed by Christmas carolers on both days.

Also occurring on both days are performances by the Salvation Army String Band.

“It is free admission — we just ask people to bring non-perishable food,” Paul said about the cost of the event to the public. “We donate (the non-perishable food) to the local food pantries.”

He warned this year the parking is located in a new spot near the Antique Village restrooms.