WESTFIELD – There is something magical about the holiday season, and Westfield on Weekends is bringing some of it to your local television channel.
As part of its reimagined, socially distant DecemberFest, WOW has partnered with Westfield Community Programming Channel 15 to offer “Magic on the Air,” a series of special holiday programming, this month.
During the summer, WOW’s Co-President Bob Plasse and Event Director Jason Polan met with Mayor Donald F. Humason Jr. to discuss whether the Mayor’s Tree Lighting and its accompanying Lantern Light Parade that traditionally marked the start of DecemberFest could be safely held. Once it was acknowledged that this was not going to be possible, brainstorming about what could be a potential substitute for these popular events occurred. Out of that meeting sprang the idea for “Magic on the Air.”
“We realized we could utilize Westfield’s community public access television stations in a way that had never been done before and in the process, introduce many to the fine programming that each offers every day via the airwaves.” Plasse explained. “With the help of Peter Cowles, the city’s media specialist, and WOW board member Ken Stomski of KS Solutions, we have been able to put together more than 30 hours of special community programming for area families to watch and enjoy together.”
Plasse and Polan coordinated with Cowles and Stomski to highlight not only the holidays, but talented residents.
“We approached music departments at both Westfield High School and Westfield State University, the Westfield Theatre Group; and other community individuals and organizations and with their generous help, have been able to assemble an impressive slate of offerings,” Plasse said. “We have also been able to create new programming spotlighting the talents of WCPC on-air personalities, area artists and artisans, musicians and storytellers. Mayor Humason has even taped a recitation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’ which he has read to son Quinn each year since he was born,”
The varied roster includes special shows featuring area talent, taped proceedings of The Mayor’s Tree Lighting of 2018 and 2019; concerts by both the Westfield High Show Choir and Band; and two original musicals by Kathi Palmer and Marion Dunk performed by the Westfield Theatre Group – “A Christmas Carol” and “Holiday Spirit.” Plasse said of special interest are “Around a Common Table,” two interfaith panel discussions focusing on the holidays during COVID with the Christian, Jewish and Muslim chaplains of Westfield State University and several musical performances by area talent, including members of the theatre and musical programs at The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Springfield.
A schedule of shows is available in The Westfield News, on WOW’s Facebook and on WOW’s website at westfieldonweekends.com. They are also streamed at westfieldtv.org and will be archived for viewing anytime on YouTube under DecemberFest 2020 under “Westfield community programming.”
WOW’s DecemberFest 2020 that also includes the Holiday Lights Challenge that is being held through Jan. 2 throughout Westfield and spotlights area homes decorated for the season with a map available on Facebook of Westfield on Weekends.
Westfield Bank is the major sponsor of DecemberFest 2020 with additional funding from Lisa Oleksak-Sullivan of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, and Joanne Papadamitriou of Keller Williams Realty, as well as in-kind support from Roots Athletic Center; WCPC; WSKB; and Reminder Publishing, the publishers of The Westfield News, The Reminder and Pennysaver. Funding has also been provided with a grant from the Westfield Cultural Council, a local program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.