WinterFest to return to Vernon

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Mon., Nov. 26, 2012
Santa and Mrs. Claus (seen here at last year's WinterFest) are scheduled to appear at the Vernon Town Hall again this year. File photo by Steve Smith.
Santa and Mrs. Claus (seen here at last year's WinterFest) are scheduled to appear at the Vernon Town Hall again this year. File photo by Steve Smith.

The town of Vernon is gearing up for another WinterFest on Dec. 7 and 8. Most of the free activities will take place in downtown Rockville, starting on Friday evening, with the torchlight parade, run by the Vernon Fire Department. The decorated trucks, from Vernon as well as other local departments, will start at Grove Street, at 6:30 p.m., and make their way to Central Park, where the tree-lighting ceremony will take place.

Mayor George Apel, Santa and Mrs. Claus, and one lucky youngster will light the tree. Children interested in lighting the tree may enter the contest by writing an essay with the topic, “What does WinterFest mean to me?” and submit it to by Dec. 4.

After the tree-lighting, fireworks will be launched from the lighted snowflake-adorned Fox Hill Tower and a choir sing will be led by the Rockville High School choir and band. Refreshments will be served, including hot dogs, hot chocolate and popcorn, with help from the Junior Women's Club.

Santa Claus will be making an appearance on the third floor of Town Hall, where the Festival of Trees will be located, decorated and donated by local businesses. Patrons may purchase tickets and then use them to “bid” on the tree that they like. Proceeds benefit the Maple Street Community School program, and winners will be announced on Dec. 14.

Jacob's Well Coffeehouse will be hosting a holiday musical performance by singer/songwriter Alex Cook at 8 p.m., at Bev's Corner, with more free refreshments.

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Children's Holiday Festival will be held at the Teen Center at 375 Hartford Turnpike, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., including crafts, cookies, moon bounce, games and holiday movies, as well as a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus. In lieu of a fee, patrons are asked to bring an unwrapped toy donation for Toys for Tikes. A fire truck will arrive at approximately 10 a.m. to collect the toys, but also for children to see the decorated truck.

“The purpose is to give parents a chance to get some holiday shopping and other things done while the children are having a fun and safe time,” said Parks and Recreation Coordinator Amy Locandro. Pre-registration is required by calling 860-870-3520.

At noon, the WinterFest walk/run (part of the Mayor's Cup Challenge) for students in grades K-5 will take place at Valley Falls Park, followed by an Arctic Splash hosted by the Vernon Parks and Rec. Department, with donations going to the Send a Kid to Camp program and the Hockanum Valley Community Council. Participants must pre-register by calling the Parks and Rec. office at 860-870-3520.

Girl Scouts will be hosting crafts and story-telling at Bev's Corner from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., and Mr. and Mrs. Claus will again appear at Town Hall from 1 to 3 p.m.

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, there will be a community-wide worship service at Union Church, led by singer/composer Rita Springer. On Dec. 11, there will also be a carol sing and nativity dedication at Central Park at 7 p.m.

Locandro added that the Parks and Rec. office, Town Hall, and Teen Center, as well as all of the Vernon Police and Fire Stations are collecting non-perishable food items and toys throughout the month of December.

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