Hometown Holidays returns to the region this weekend

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Piscataquis County sets aside one day early in December (Saturday, Dec. 2) to celebrate the wonder of Christmas and the magic of the holiday season. This year Monson, Guilford (Friday, Dec. 1), Milo and Dover-Foxcroft are participating.

Dover-Foxcroft has a jam-packed schedule beginning at 9 a.m. and ending late into the day when Santa packs up and heads back to the North Pole. The Dover-Foxcroft Congregational Church will hold its annual Kris Kringle Coffee from 9-11 a.m., a $3 donation is requested.

The Thompson Free Library will host the Dover Cove Farmer’s Market and offer ornament making for children from 9 a.m. to noon.

Carpe Diem Salon is offering a “Seize the Day” holiday sale from 9-11 a.m., offering a free paraffin wax-dip coupon with the purchase of a gift certificate of $30 or more, and, with the purchase of a 1-hour massage gift certificate, an extra 15 minutes of massage will be given through this special holiday sale. Starting at 11 a.m., Carpe Diem will hold a Christmas card and ornament making station until 1 p.m.

This year, Countryside Meat Market joins in on the fun with a Holiday & Customer Appreciation Day at the market from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., offering cookies and door prizes.

Community members are excited to have the Miracle Tree Event returning to town this year, held at the Mill event space from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3, with the final drawings at 4:15 p.m. Sunday. Stop in to buy a raffle ticket for a fully decorated tree (there will be many to choose from) and the presents resting underneath … all proceeds go to benefit local charities and those less fortunate this Christmas. There will be a bake sale and face painting during the event.

Bob’s Sugarhouse will be open from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in celebration of Hometown Holidays and the owner Bob Moore’s birthday, offering discounts, door prizes, refreshments and sweets, Christmas music, birthday cake and so much more.

Families will find a Christmas craft table and hot chocolate all day at the Mill Inn & Café, with supplies to make Christmas cards, ornaments and more.

The Healing Center of Maine, located at the Union Square Mall, will offer a holiday sale from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., offering several promotions, such as 10 percent off all Nutritional Therapy Lab Packages, a “buy 2 get 1 free” deal on essential oils, 10 percent off all supplements and a free massage with a purchase through the “Massage a Month Club” program.

Subway of Dover-Foxcroft will offer free kids meals, cookie decorating and photos with one of Santa’s elves from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

From noon to 2:30 p.m, the PRYMCA will be at the Union Square Mall, inside the Color of Life Studio, running Reindeer Games for kids of all ages, and snacks will be provided by Piscataquis Healthy Food for All. The Color of Life Studio will offer snowflake making beginning at noon and ending at 5 p.m.

Penquis at 50 North Street will open to families from noon to 3 p.m. for “Peppermint Wonderland,” peppermint-themed children’s activities and crafts including a light up snowman ornament to wear to the parade. Snacks and hot cocoa will also be offered.

From noon to 6 p.m., the Union Square Mall will be bustling with activity with a Holiday-Shopping Open House from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., including crafters and vendors such as LulaRoe, Thirty-One Gifts, Pampered Chef, Altared Blessings, Scentsy, Nature Goddess and more.

A community favorite, letter writing to Santa, will be held again at Center Theatre from 12:30-1:30 p.m., with the Center Coffee House providing free cookies and hot chocolate for children who attend. Several of Santa’s helpers from the North Pole will be there to help.

At 2 p.m. at the Center Theatre, there will be a special telling of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” followed by a free movie sponsored by Mayo Regional Hospital. This year’s free movie, beginning at 3 p.m., is “Elf.”

From 3-5 p.m. horse-drawn carriage rides by Nostalgic Limo Horse & Carriage Service, generously sponsored by Foxcroft Veterinary Services, will be stationed on Lincoln Street, and Modern Image Salon will offer holiday treats to those waiting for their ride. Lincoln Street residents should be aware that their road will be closed to through-traffic while the horse and buggy rides are happening.

Line-up for the Festival of Lights Parade will begin at Foxcroft Academy at 4:30 p.m. The parade begins at 5 p.m. Families waiting at the end of the parade in front of the Dover-Foxcroft fire station can enjoy Christmas caroling until Mr. and Mrs. Claus arrive, at which time the crowd will count down to the tree lighting (with a twitch of Santa’s nose).

Children may visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus inside the fire station, where families can also expect to find crafts and activities, Christmas items for sale, photo opportunities and food for sale prepared by Foxcroft Academy Project Graduation.

Families who want to make a night of it can head back over to Center Theatre after their visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus for a “Hometown Holidays Theater Evening,” presenting “Little Women’s Christmas” and the “Steadfast Tin Soldier” beginning at 7 p.m. Also at Center Theatre on Sunday there will be a showing of the Nutcracker Ballet from 2-4 p.m.

The Dover-Foxcroft Hometown Holidays Committee would like to sincerely thank all businesses and individuals who sponsored and contributed to this event. Special thanks to all the volunteers who make this magical event happen.

Milo kicks off the festivities with a breakfast with Santa beginning at 8 a.m. in the Penquis Valley School cafeteria — running until 10 a.m. with a small admission fee. The Park Street United Methodist Church will hold a Christmas fair from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m, with a beef stew luncheon at 11 a.m. The Milo Town Hall dining room will offer crafts and snacks from 3-7 p.m., and from 4-7 p.m. the Piscataquis Amateur Radio Club will host “Elves on the Air” inviting area children to talk with Santa’s elves over their radios.

Parade line-up begins the corner of Riverside/West Main Street, no pre-registration is required just show up decorated. Parade begins at 5 p.m. and will run from Riverside Street. to JSI and back to the Community Christmas tree at the Milo Town Hall. The tree lighting will take place at 5:15 p.m. where community members will join in caroling with Stephanie Gillis’ singers. Hot cocoa and donuts will be provided by Park Street UMC.

Santa will be waiting inside the town hall lobby to visit and take pictures with children at 5:30 p.m. There will also be a hayride leaving from (and returning to) the town hall at 5:30 p.m. This year’s door prize is the Christmas tree from Santa’s float, provided by Al’s Balsam Christmas Trees.

The Milo Hometown Holidays Committee sincerely thanks all sponsors and all volunteers who help make this community event possible.

Guilford will hold all Hometown Holidays events on Friday, Dec. 1 this year, with a bad weather date of Dec 2. Events begin at 5 p.m. at the Guilford Subway, where there will be a children’s coloring contest and free cookies. At 5:30 p.m. the sound of Christmas caroling will begin at the storefront of Davis Brother’s Furniture, winner of the 2015 and 2016 Hometown Holidays Traveling Trophy for the business’ amazing window display. Families can enjoy the music and take photos at the window, then head over the river to the Guilford Historical Museum for hot cocoa and a visit to the “make and take reindeer food” table.

At 6 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive by fire truck to help the children light up the town Christmas tree. All are invited to join in at the bonfire for more caroling.

At 7 p.m. everyone will take a stroll to the Guilford Memorial Library to enjoy a special story time and treat.

Monson will hold its annual Kris Kringle Craft Fair at the Monson Gym from 9 a.m.-3 p.m, with a luncheon at 11 a.m. and Santa’s arrival at 1 p.m. For more information, please call 944-0798.

All Hometown Holidays schedules will be posted on the Piscataquis Chamber’s website at and on Facebook. The chamber can be reached at 564-753.

Children throughout the county can mail letters to Santa from post offices in Abbot, Dover-Foxcroft, Guilford, Monson and Sangerville and the Shaw Public Library annex in Greenville.

Will’s Shop ‘n Save and Zone Radio Station of Dover-Foxcroft also have mailboxes available. Letters can also be dropped through the mail slot in the front door before or after business hours. The final pickup for mailed letters to Santa is Wednesday, Dec. 20 so that he has enough time to reply. All letters are answered so it is extremely important to include a correct mailing address with house or apartment number.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
AN OFFICIAL START TO THE HOLIDAYS — Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived at Union Square in Dover-Foxcroft, via fire truck and the Festival of Lights parade, to lead the countdown from 10 to one to turn on the downtown Christmas tree and kick off the holiday season during last year’s Hometown Holidays celebration. Santa and Mrs. Claus then went inside the fire station to visit with children and hear what the good boys and girls hope to find under the tree and in their stockings. The 2017 Hometown Holidays will feature events across the region over this weekend.

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