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Christmas

North Country Festival of Trees lights up at Salmon Run Mall

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WATERTOWN — A North Country Festival of Trees is again lighting up for the holidays this year under the theme “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

Viewing dates for the festival are today through the Sunday and Dec. 1 through 4.

There are more than 80 trees in the former Bon-Ton space in the Salmon Run Mall this year, including 11 trees from local schools.

There will also be a number of school music, choral and dance groups performing during the live viewing. The Watertown YMCA has partnered with more than 80 local sponsors to hold the holiday event in person this year, including main sponsors FX Caprara Honda and Apogee Physicians.

April Young, director of resource development and marketing at the Watertown YMCA, said there have been some “incredible trees” decorated this year.

“We couldn’t do it without the volunteers that help at the Festival. There’s a lot of moving pieces that go into putting this on,” she said.

During the live viewing events at the mall, people can purchase raffle tickets to set in front of their favorite school-decorated trees. The tree with the most tickets will receive a prize. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the event and cost $5 per ticket or five tickets for $20. Admission to view the trees is free, but monetary and food donations are welcome.

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Santa coming to Salmon Run Mall

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WATERTOWN — Santa Claus is coming to town — and the Salmon Run Mall — for the holiday season beginning Dec. 1.

Santa and his elves will be located near the Hobby Lobby end of the mall through Christmas Eve during the following hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays. On Christmas Eve, Santa’s hours will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Visits with Santa are always free. Photo packages will be available for purchase.

In conjunction with Cherry Hill Programs and Autism Speaks, the mall will host a circumferential Santa event from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Dec. 4.

Individuals with special needs and their families can experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa during this event created just for them.

This sensory-friendly event allows families with children of special needs to experience the tradition of a Santa visit in a comforting environment prior to public hours.

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Council agrees to change Watertown’s holiday parade route

in Entertainment/Event 247 views

WATERTOWN — Holiday revelers will be celebrating the city’s Christmas tree lighting with a new parade route in December.

On Monday night, the City Council informally agreed to change the parade route so that it heads down Washington Street, with the tree lighting to take place in front of Watertown City Hall.

The new route will be along Washington Street, from Winslow Street to Stone Street, the same one used during the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Senior city planner Jennifer Voss said the route change was prompted by suggestions that the parade should be longer.

“I’m OK with trying something new,” Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo Pierce said.

The new route will avoid a $4 million streetscape project on Court Street, which will be under construction during the holidays.

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Christmas-Loving Mom Transforms Her Home Into Real-Life Gingerbread House

in People 800 views

A Christmas-mad mom has transformed her home into—a real-life gingerbread house.

67-year-old Virginia Hoffman spent ‘hundreds of hours’ festooning her property into a vision from a fairytale.

Homemade decorations include candy canes, giant gumdrops, peppermint swirls, huge chocolate and wafer cookies, and an oversized gingerbread man.

Interior designer Virginia, of Salt Lake City, Utah, says her daughter, son-in-law, and their children all were involved, as well as her husband, who is a professional artist.

She said, “I live in a neighborhood where most the houses were built in the 1920s and the architecture has a lot of charming characteristics.

“I was looking at my circle of houses and thought how they all looked like gingerbread houses with their various roof lines and windows.

“I began to imagine how I could make some decorations to make my house into a gingerbread house.

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