The second annual Holiday Gathering will be held at the Great North Woods Center for the Arts in Columbia on Sunday, Dec. 8, starting at 2 p.m. It’s all free and open to everyone.
The public is invited to take part in the annual manger lighting at dusk (around 4 p.m.). Decorated each year by Larry and Louise Dagesse of Colebrook, it kicks off the Christmas season. Visitors are encouraged to drive through the grounds to view the lights and decorations, and to see the manger at any time during the holidays.
Immediately after the lighting, about 4:30 p.m., everyone will be invited into the Museum Theater where a community holiday singout will take place, sponsored by the GNWCA. “Bring your singing voice, your musical instrument if you wish and holiday merriment to join in the fun,” said President Charlie Jordan of the GNWCA. “We’ll provide printed words to familiar songs–this is all Christmas music and a spontaneous part of the program.” More artists and musicians will be on hand with displays and activities, as well as holiday children’s activities.
Earlier in the day, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive on the Jenkins and Newman Funeral Home lawn in downtown Colebrook for the annual tree lighting about 12:30 p.m. Next they’ll travel to the Colebrook gym where, from 1-3 p.m., they will meet with area children. There will be a special North Pole mail box for children to write their letters to Santa.
Hot chocolate, hot cider and Christmas cookies will be available for everyone who will be gathering in the Museum Theater—which is located in the former gift shop that had been a part of the Shrine of Our Lady of Grace.
The volunteers working on the property are working on beautiful displays this year—including multiple Christmas trees throughout the property. A tradition that returns is the lighted Christmas tree in the dining hall window of the residence building, which is nearest to the main road. This building is the former residence hall for the Oblates Missionaries who had lived on the property for so many decades.