Friday, November 18, 2011

So. Berwick Festival Offers A Bounty of New Events


Ice sculptures, a wandering minstrel, miniature horse-and-carriage rides, and a hand bell choir are among the new attractions at the annual Home for the Holidays downtown celebration from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec 2.

This year nearly 30 merchants will host activities for the whole family, stretching around the corner for the first time to include festivities on Lower Main Street.

“We decided the event had reached critical mass along the main drag, and it was time to broaden our scope,” said Jayne Morrell, one of the key volunteer organizers.

In addition to the traditional appearance of Santa Claus, Rock my Soul carolers, Phil the Karaoke master and cookie decorating, there will be concerts by the High School Select Choir and Quint-Essential Winds; free mini checkups at Great Works Chiropractic and Wellness; and local Boy Scouts selling wreaths. The newest restaurant on the square, Isidore on the Rocks, will offer a custom local beverage, the SoBotini.

Fogarty’s Restaurant and the Academy Street Inn are sponsoring a minstrel, Dave Peloquin, an internationally known folk musician who will serenade strollers on Lower Main in his trademark top hat. Founder of the group Christmas in New England and lead singer for New England Christmastide Musicians, Peloquin has appeared on “Good Morning America.”

SoBo Central, the non-profit group that provides an umbrella for Home for the Holidays and six other local programs, will run a scavenger hunt beginning at Bob’s Trophies. The hunt will challenge families to find hidden objects at retail outlets around town, and those who succeed will win a prize at the new SoBotique second-hand shop on Lower Main.

The Women’s Holiday Art Sale, the original cornerstone of the annual celebration, this year will have three locations: Film Barn Studio, Lassel Architects and the Jewett House. Thirteen juried artists will be offering fine jewelry, handcrafted cards, felted animals, fused glass, metalwork, art quilts, children’s books and more.

The Art Sale also will be open Saturday, Dec. 3, as will a new artisan show at Curves, craft sales at the First Parish Federated Church and First Baptist Church, and the holiday bazaar at Marshwood High School. The weekend will conclude with a Community Chorus at South Berwick concert, “Laud to the Nativity,” at 3 p.m. Sunday at Marshwood High School.

In the last seven years, Home for the Holidays has become a centerpiece of community life in the holiday season as downtown business owners keep their doors open into the evening on Friday and hundreds of residents fill the streets with cheer.

In addition to Santa Claus welcoming children for a photo op at P. Gagnon & Son, Mrs. Claus will read stories at the Public Library, People’s United Bank will help children write letters to Santa, and York Hospital is inviting children for face painting and snacks.

For a complete listing of activities, the Home for the Holidays brochure is online at

Photo Caption: This horse-drawn carriage, owned by Central School teacher Leigh Robinson, is one of many new attractions at this year’s Home for the Holidays downtown celebration Dec. 2 in South Berwick. Here, children drive the carriage at Eliot Farm Camp. (Courtesy photo)