EASTON — The streets were filled with song and sometimes even machine-made snow Saturday night for “Carols by Candlelight,” a new fundraising event for the annual Festival of Trees.
As darkness came on, a team of volunteer “elves” passed out battery-powered candles and songbooks on Harrison Street in front of the historic Tidewater Inn.
Folks spent some pre-caroling time warming up in the Oxford Room at the Inn with hot chocolate, hot cider provided by Eat Sprout and cookies that were donated by Blue Heron Catering and Harris Teeter.
Soon the bundled-up crowd moved outside where a stage and sound system was set up on the blocked-off street. There were also Jingle Bell bracelets, blinking holiday caps, hats and glasses for sale.
To begin the festivities, carolers switched on their candles and sang a rousing chorus of “Here Comes Santa Claus” as Santa and Mrs. Claus strutted across the stage.
The song was led by the Allegro Children’s Chorus with singers from the Chesapeake Multicultural Resource Center.
The Clauses waved to their fans, then proceeded to preside over the lighting of the 19-foot Fraser fir in front of the Tidewater Inn that had journeyed all the way from Eliot, Maine.
Helping with the lighting were Ken and Emma Jean Morgan, along with electrician Kyle Thompson.
After the lighting, Santa and the Mrs. decided to retire to the Talbot Room at the Inn, but promised to hang out later for a friendly chat with their fans.
The Allegro Children’s Choir entertained with three more songs, then got the crowd to join it for “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
As the song began, the Avalon Foundation’s snow machine went to work, and cascades of flakes came down all around.
The Crashbox Theatre Troupe entertained, under the direction of Ricky Vitanovic. They led the crowd in the singing of “Silent Night” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
Students from the Country School, who are in the school musical “Rock of Ages,” performed under the direction of Ryan Catterton.
They led the crowd in singing “Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime,” “Run, Run Rudolph,” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
Allegra! the women’s chorus sang “Emmanuel,” “Infant Holy” and “Winter Wonderland.” followed by an enthusiastic performance by the Gospel Covenant Choir and Friends for Christ Community Group.
The Allegra! music director is Amy Morgan.
The gospel choir was accompanied on keyboards by Leroy Potter and percussion by Howard Barnett Jr. They also featured soloist Lane Morgan.
The crowd capped the evening by singing “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” “Go Tell it on the Mountain,” “Oh Come, All Ye Faithful” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
There was a raffle to win the Timeless Toys Christmas Tree, beautifully decorated by Pama Morrow and Midge Menzies, and sponsored by An Optical Galleria. The winner also became the owner of a “Made With Love” Raggedy Ann Doll made by Susan Clifford. The winning ticket was drawn by volunteers Isabel and Ivy Kahn.
Chairmen for “Carols by Candlelight” were Leslie Ware and Midge Menzies. Talbot Hospice Executive Director Vivian Dodge and Friends of Hospice Board President Brenda Forbes Butler welcomed the crowd.
Those who were thanked included Attraction Magazine and Allison Rogers; the Avalon Theatre; Blue Heron Catering; Harris Teeter; The Tidewater Inn and Lauren Catterton; Samantha Moore McCall and Deedee Hoopes of Chesapeake Blooms; Susan Clifford; The Country School; Discover Easton, Ross Benincasa and Jeff Lankford; Boots Michalak; Ted Mueller; Steve Hershey; Kyle Thompson; John Horner; Laser Letters; Dana McGrath; An Optical Galleria, Laurie Roysdon and JoAnn Dicus; Bob Patchett; Paul Prager; Eat Sprout; The Star Democrat; Harriet Downes Slaughter; The Tidewater Times and Anne B. Farwell; Winn Meadow Farm, Greg Whalen and Eric Fernandes; the Friends of Hospice Board and many more.
Sponsors include Joanne and Paul Prager of Blue Point Hospitality; the Tidewater Inn; Mick and Beverly Edgell; Nagel Farm Service; RBC Wealth Management; Trade Whims; Sullivan Surgery and Spa; and others.
The annual Festival of Trees continues through Tuesday, Dec. 3, with a chance to see the Gold Ballroom at the Tidewater Inn on Harrison Street full of beautifully decorated, glittering trees. Live holiday music is part of the Festival. On Tuesday the Festival is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Festival of Trees is a fundraising event, organized and sponsored by the Friends of Hospice to support Talbot Hospice.
For more information visit https://festival-of-trees.org/.