By Lauren LeBel
WESTFIELD — While some may still be indulging in Thanksgiving leftovers for days after the holiday, others are turning their attention to the Christmas season and ready to ring it in. To kick off Westfield’s annual holiday celebration, Westfield on Weekends will start its DecemberFest on Saturday, with the Mayor’s Tree Lighting and Pop-Up Holiday Marketplace on Park Square.
Bob Plasse, WOW’s co-president and chair of DecemberFest, said this in-person event will be aligned with Small Business Saturday, supporting local shops.
Plasse said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many small businesses in town struggled to stay afloat. As WOW’s Creative Arts Center is part of the downtown, along with Plasse being a member of the Chamber of Commerce, he thought creating the Pop-Up Holiday Marketplace would be beneficial to many.
He said, “Having not been able to hold in-person events last year because of COVID, it feels particularly special to us to once again bring the community together.”
Tree lighting festivities are set to begin at 6 p.m., with Cocoa and Carols, featuring the Westfield High School Brass Ensemble, led by Patrick Kennedy, and the Westfield High School Show Choir, conducted by Korey Bruno.
Additionally, Anne Cubberly, an award-winning puppeteer from Hartford, will be present with her two giant harlequin and acrobat puppets. Plasse said the puppets are over 12 feet tall. Children will have the opportunity to interact with them, along with the costumed mascot “Snowy the Snowman,” a crowd favorite, year after year.
Plasse says the tree-lighting itself will be “short and sweet.” At 6:30 p.m., Mayor Donald Humason Jr. will light the city’s holiday tree, a 23-foot artificial evergreen that the city uses every year.
Following the tree lighting, Humason will announce the arrival of two special guests – Santa and Mrs. Claus. Children and families will have the opportunity to speak with the two North Pole legends.
In past years, Plasse said WOW hosted a Christmas parade. He said the group thought it would be a fun and interactive change of pace this year to bring in Santa and Mrs. Claus, along with the puppets.
Prior to the annual tree lighting, the Pop-Up Holiday Marketplace will take place in the Park Square Pavilion. From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., four craft and houseware vendors will be selling goods. Plasse said there will also be another location with vendors at WOW’s Creative Art Center, 105 Elm St., open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
After this weekend, on every Saturday and Sunday through Dec. 19, different vendors will rotate through at WOW’s Creative Arts Center at pop-up markets. On Saturdays, the market will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. The Park Square Pavilion pop-up market is a one-time location this Saturday.
Although they’ve hosted craft fairs in the past, Plasse and his team look forward to this new venture.
For all of the events set to take place on Nov. 27, Plasse said he has worked closely with the mayor’s office, Department of Public Works, Parks and Recreation Department, the Police and Fire departments, and the city’s community development office.
“It’s a tradition in Westfield that’s gone back decades. We’re doing it in conjunction to herald shopping season and start the month of events.”
Plasse said Saturday’s festivities will happen “snow or shine.” Traditionally, he said they have had a healthy turnout, and is hopeful for the same this year. He extends an invitation to the entire community — all are welcome.
For the latest news and most up to date information on the DecemberFest events, visit www.westfieldonweekends.com/center/cac-home.