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Wellington sparkles with new festive celebration day

Two-year-old Stella whispers Christmas wishes to Santa in Wellington on Saturday.

Story and photos by Sharon Harrison
The village of Wellington sparkled all day long Saturday in a slightly different Christmas in the village celebration.

This year, for the first time in a long time, the Wellington Recreation Committee reluctantly opted to forego a parade, due to a number of factors such as increased costs of things such as policing and marching bands, as well as a lack of parade participation and volunteer help.

Organized by the Wellington and District Business Association and the Wellington Recreation Committee, the day saw several community groups, including the churches, as well committed individuals and groups, ensure the crisp, but sunny day was brimming with seasonal activities and fun.

“It was a great collaboration effort by the WRC and the WDBA to put together a unique Wellington-centric event,” said WRC chair Corey Engelsdorfer.

“After deciding against the parade, we knew we had to put together a great event, and I think we’ve taken the first step in starting a new Wellington tradition,” he said.

The full day began with Santa’s crafters sale in the United Church, but it was the famous Cookie Walk at the same location, that is always a huge draw for the many who snap up boxes of cookies created from more than 600 dozen cookies made.

Pat Howard, a Wellington United Church volunteer, said this is the fifth year the women of the Wellington United Church have done the Cookie Walk.

“I just want to thank the wider community for their participation. It has been excellent,” said Howard. “This year, we have over 620 dozen different types of cookies, and it’s just a lot of fun. We enjoy doing it, and the community appreciates it, so we are just glad everybody comes out.”

She said about half the cookies were baked at The Wellington Bakery when they opened up their premises for the church. Howard wanted to give a special shout out to Joe at the bakery who allowed the church to come in and use their ovens on two Monday mornings recently, noting he prepared the dough for the group too.
“Over 300 dozen were baked there, and we appreciate his kind donation.”

Barbara Nattress, a Wellington United Church volunteer, and COPE (Committee of Planned Events) member was selling copies of Wellington United Church’s latest, second edition, cook book which launched Saturday.

“It’s recipes from the congregation and it has a heritage section where people have submitted recipes from their parents and grandparents and family members,” said Nattress. “As well, we have a whole section on the cookies that are offered in the Cookie Walk.”

She describes it a practical cook book, with lots of comfort food. The cook book costs $15 and is available from members of the church. All of the money raised will go to Save our Shoreline, a fundraiser to repair the Wellington United Church shoreline

Eighteen local crafters gathered at the church for the Christmas market, which included a wide array of wares for gift giving, as well as the edible kind. Delicious baked goodies included tourtiéres, Christmas cakes and shortbread, as well as artisan chocolates, preserves and spices. Lavender, honey and alpaca products, pottery and ironworks made for an interesting market.

The proceeds from raffle tickets sold at the crafters market will also go to Save our Shoreline. Raffle prizes totalling $500 were donated by the crafters.

Wellington Anglican Church held a luncheon and bake sale. A number of vendors offered a variety of wares from artwork to clothing to jewellery at the Town Hall. Also offered, was a gift wrapping service.

The Shortbread Company travelled from Grafton to be at the event, which they have attended once before in 2018. Their shortbread comes in 11 flavours, ranging from candy cane to rainbow, and lemon and lime.

Pamela Carter was also one of the vendors at the Town Hall Christmas market.

It was a first time appearance at the show for local artist Gerry Jenkison.

“I am a guest member of the Group of Sevenish,” said Jenkison, who was selling a selection of her art in the form of framed prints and paintings.

An afternoon geared to the little ones at the library included games, toys, Lego, snowflake tic-tac-toe, crafts using pipe cleaners, and colouring, along with fresh popcorn and hot chocolate. Jessica Yarrow added to the festive mood, playing songs of the season on clarinet.

Callie Visser, age four, and Isla Visser, age six, from Trenton, were visiting grandparents in Wellington, sat with Santa in the gazebo.

Santa was kept busy in Wellington on Saturday afternoon, where his first appearance was at the gazebo in the park for pet photos, where he sat upon an original refurbished cutter. While the event was free, donations were accepted for Operation Ho Ho Ho, a Sick Kids hospital initative which helps buy gifts for children staying at the hospital.

After a quick wardrobe change, Santa was on hand at The General for more photos. Donations received at that location were given to the Storehouse Foodbank.

At six o’clock on the dot, or on the ringing of the nearby church bells, crowds gathered in the park as the festive lights on the Christmas tree in the gazebo were switched on, along with the many strings of lights strung along the downtown core.

Standing around a roaring bonfire, carollers made the perfect end to a lovely day, lighting up the village and the night.

“The day wouldn’t have happened without the help of Rick Conroy and Gord MacDonald; they both worked tirelessly, stringing lights around town,” added Engelsdorfer.

And for the littlest ones, two short children’s movies ran back-to-back in the Town Hall, under the supervision of several adults.

“It was nice to see residents come out to usher away the darkness,” Engelsdorfer said. “The bonfire in the park was a nice touch, and when the church bells rang and the lights turned on, you could sense the excitement.”

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