17th Annual Hawley Winterfest to feature variety of holiday events, social activities, entertainment options
HAWLEY — For 17 years, the quaint yet forward looking borough of Hawley, a community settled on Route 6 and the Lackawaxen River in Wayne County, has been generating Christmas spirit early by throwing a weekend long festival of holiday cheer. From horse-drawn carriage rides to a beer tour that takes patrons through town and beyond, Hawley Winterfest has something for everyone to enjoy.
This year’s celebration of yuletide amusement and small town pride will take place Dec. 11 through 13. The weekend includes Christmas themed theater, musical performances, craft vendors, tours of decorated homes and an abundance of food and drink specials from businesses throughout the region.
Longtime Hawley resident Keith Williams is the current chairperson of the Winterfest Committee, which is part of the Downtown Hawley Partnership. He has seen the festival develop since its inception in 1999.
“This was pulled together by a few of the townsfolk 17 years ago,” Williams said. “Usually in early December things are fairly slow in this area, but some of the galleries and business people thought it would be nice to play at that small-town America (concept) to get people to get into the holiday feel for things.”
Williams said, the festival began with a parade through town and grew from there. Now it includes more than 50 events at for-profit organizations and also the public library and local churches. The Hawley Public Library holds an event called Soup’s On where people can try a variety of homemade soups while breaking from festivities, and the Hawley United Methodist Church hosts a concert by the Virgin Consort, which is a favorite event of Williams.
“Their voices are phenomenal,” Williams said. “That’s Friday night at 8 o’clock, but if people are interested they should get there early to make sure they can get a seat. It only holds a couple hundred people, but that’s a really special thing to kick (the festival) off.”
This year’s events also include Glasswork & Delicious Treats, where patrons can watch glass blowing demonstrations and try handmade jellies at B. Madigan Jewelry, and the 15th Annual Cookie Walk and Victorian Luncheon at the First Presbyterian Church where more than 5,000 handmade gourmet cookies will be for sale at $10 per pound.
Childrens’ events include a Marshmallow Creativity event and a Create a Holiday Card event at the public library, and to cater to the commercial side of Christmas, the Hawley Silk Mill, holds a craft and vendor fair, where people can shop for Christmas gifts.
Williams said the Winterfest Beer Tour, which includes 11 bars, is a nice option for people who are coming through town without their children or to enjoy the food and live entertainment.
“This is a way to get people in, try out the specials and sample flights of beer,” Williams said. “You get little samples of several different beers, and they’ll stamp your card. Once you get at least six, you’ll stop by the visitor’s center and we have a pint glass which is emblazoned with the Hawley Winterfest logo.”
The Holiday House Tour, which begins at Teeters Furniture, will take people to five brilliantly decorated homes for $20. If tour patrons wish, they can take a free shuttle to three of the five houses. Festival goers can also take a horse-drawn carriage ride for $8 per person or a wagon ride for $5 per person from Miss Elly’s Antiques & Such.
“We joke around about it being that kind of Rockwellian Christmas story, where you get a sense that you’ve been thrown back a century, in a small town, and being able to do a number of things, sometimes for free,” Williams said. “Obviously there are things you pay to do, but you can come out for the weekend and not spend a fortune, or you could come out and buy all your friends and family their Christmas gifts.”
For a full schedule of events, live music, prices and shuttle frequency visit www.hawleywinterfest.com.
Reach Matt Mattei at 570-991-6651 or [email protected]