Busy Saturday planned
Over the past two years, more than $700 has been spent on new string lights to help usher in the Christmas season to Jamestown. The retired strings, according to organizer Mark Baker, were at least 15 years old. Baker says the strings reached a “natural end,” finally succumbing to the Narragansett Bay winds last December.
“In the first storm, the top string went dark,” said Baker, “and a few weeks later, a second storm damaged the bottom string.”
The 34th annual tree lighting ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m., and the usual suspects will be on hand. The community band will play seasonal selections, and the community chorus will hand out song sheets so families can sing along to Christmas carols.
Along with the carols, Chorus Director B.J. Whitehouse said he will lead a rendition of the Navy hymn in honor of Pearl Harbor Day, which falls on Saturday. The hymn, titled “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” was originally written in 1860 by the Rev. William Whiting, a clergyman from England who once survived an angry storm on the Mediterranean. Whiting wrote it for a student who was about to sail across the Atlantic to the United States.
The peak performance will come from Jamestown students, who will sing “O Tannenbaum” as the switch is flipped and the village Christmas tree comes alive. As always, refreshments will be served at the ceremony.
Baker says he is still accepting donations for the tree’s new lights. While the local Rotary Club donated a check to defray some of the costs, there is still a shortfall. Donations can be made by calling Baker at 423-9621. Dedications on golden bells are hung on a limb of the tree for each donor.
Before the tree lighting ceremony takes place, the Chamber of Commerce will once again sponsor its annual holiday stroll from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Shops at Ferry Wharf and along Narragansett Avenue will open their doors to the community and offer festive spirit, warm beverages and tasty pastries. At about 4:30 p.m., the community band will start playing at the fire station. The music will makes its way down Narragansett Avenue, stopping at various shops, until the band reaches East Ferry to perform at the tree lighting.
Also, Chamber Checks will be available for 10 percent off during the stroll. The sale will continue into Sunday.
Another holiday tradition continues this year as the Conanicut Island Art Association prepares for its holiday craft fair. The event will take place at Melrose School Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers say there is still room for artists to submit their work into the little-picture show. Original paintings, prints and photographs can be dropped off at the school on Friday between 4 and 5 p.m. Up to three framed and wired hanging pieces, as well as five wrapped submissions for the bin, will be accepted for each artist. Each piece should measure no more than 60 linear inches. Entry fee is $15 for members, $20 for nonmembers. All unsold work must be picked up on Saturday between 4 and 5 p.m.
Each island church will also hold its annual Christmas bazaars on Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. At St. Matthew’s, the fair feature everything from baked goods to handmade ornaments. Kids will be able to visit Frosty and his friends in Santa land.
Across the street at St. Mark, a one-week vacation to Mount Snow and a private cruise on Newport Harbor will be up for bid during the silent auction. Also, iPads and iPods will be among the raffle prizes, and fairgoers will have a chance to win $1,000 in cash.
At Central Baptist Church, the Rev. Kathryn Palen says there will be several new areas. A doll boutique will offer handcrafted beds, individually designed sets of bedding, and homemade clothing for 18-inch dolls. There will also be an angel corner that will feature handmade kitchen angels and designer ceramic angels. Other items for shoppers include locally decorated fresh wreaths, miniature poinsettias, themed gift baskets, baked goods, global crafts, artwork and Christmas decorations. For lunch, lobster rolls, soups and hot dogs will be available.
Finally, the library will hold its annual book sale all weekend during regular business hours. According to Library Director Donna Fogarty, barely used books make great gifts for everyone including a postman, teacher or great aunt. Free gift wrapping will be available Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and cider and cookies will be served.