Festival of Holidays in Sheffield turns up the lights

In Sheffield, the historical society is creating its own new tradition in lights. In the grounds of the historic Dan Raymond House, 20 lighted Frasier firs will glimmer, local trees from Ioka Valley Farm in Hancock.
“It started as a response to Covid,” said Jennifer Owens, administrator of the Sheffield Historical Society, “to bring some happiness to the community in a safe way. We think it will be a tradition for years to come.”
The annual Festival of Holidays returns at the Old Stone Store next door on weekends into early January. The annual marketplace will gather work from Berkshire artisans, from wooden bowls to photographs, whimsical ornaments and fiber art, chenille scarves in gentle shades and felted scarves in wild colors.
The festival becomes a benefit for Sheffield Historical Society and the scholarships it offers to local high school seniors, said Kathleen Tetro a volunteer with SHS and co-owner, with her husband, of Corner House Antiques at the center of town.
Volunteers have made tabletop trees, she said, some mature and some childlike, some lighted, some made of shells or milkweed with a glint of gold. Designer MaryEllen O’Brien will offer evergreen wreathes.
And next door the historical society is setting up real, life-sized trees.
Local families and organizations have decorated them — SoCo Historical Restoration, the old Parish Church, the Marketplace Kitchen and many more — in a benefit for SHS.
also for the Sheffield Breaking Bread program, which will create and package meals for anyone in the community who comes, without question.
SHS will decorate the grounds as well, and the historic greenhouse that now holds their educational center. At the hub, a remembrance tree will carry messages for loved ones and local heroes. And they welcome the community to add their own.
On Saturdays December 12 and 19, SHS is planning a carefully calibrated holiday celebration. Children can see Santa at a distance, Owens said, as he sits in the historic law office and may be able to send him a note. On the porch, Jeannie Romeo will sing rock classics from the 1950s and 1960s.
The festive lights will light up every night every night until January 6, she said, and they stand next to the Town Hall lot, so visitors can also see them from inside their own cars.
“The event is free,” she said. “It’s a community event. Just wear a mask.”

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