Kick off the holiday season with a ride in a horse-drawn carriage, hot apple cider, and roasted chestnuts at Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum’s 38th annual Grand Old Christmas Festival.
“Our schoolhouse will be decorated for children to come inside Santa’s den and have their photo taken with him. We’ll have crafters inside the L. R. Wilson Heritage Research Archives, and more holiday items in our gift shop,” said museum director/curator Stephanie Powell Baswick.
The festival takes place Sunday, Dec. 7 from noon to 4 p.m. on the museum grounds, 286 King St.
Baswick said the crafters inside the heritage archives are local artisans with various handmade objects. Those artisans will be donating items that will be used for door prizes for the festival.
She said the picturesque heritage village will be decked out in greenery and bows, and people can visit the blacksmith shop and try their hand at cutting a piece of a log and have it branded with this year’s stamp.
Visitors can also try printing a card on a heritage press or make their own wreath. Christmas music will be performed by the McKay School choir, and Riverside Berry Farm will be selling food.
In addition to the activities on the museum grounds and heritage archives, people can check out the newest exhibit — The Wish List.
“The exhibit talks about what you have been asking for at Christmas many years ago.”
It shows some popular items from the early 1900s, and what people might have made or bought for friends and family.
Baswick said one of the biggest draws at the festival is Arabella’s Tea Room’s Christmas pudding and sauce.
She said tea room volunteers spent a couple of days getting the pudding and sauce together.
“The festival is the only day you can purchase the full pudding and sauce … it sells out quickly and is enough to feed several people.”
Baswick said the pudding sells for $7 and the sauce for $2.
After the festival, from Dec. 8 to 13, it will only be available inside the tea room, not for takeout. It will be $5 for a serving of pudding, sauce and tea.
“We call it the shopper’s week special. We encourage people to shop locally and take a break and have a little treat from between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. at Arabella’s, and then go back to shopping.”
Baswick said her favourite part of the festival is how it’s very much a community event.
“There are people who used to come her as children and now bring their children here. We have a lot of community partners, too.”
She said businesses like Canalside Restaurant buys the chestnuts, Harvey’s sponsors the cider, and Boggio’s donates candy canes
“Everyone supports the museum.”