Olde Eng­land

THIS HOL­I­DAY RE­TURN TO

The Day - Sound & Country - - - By KA­T­RINA T. GATH­ERS

DDe­cem­ber in Deep River wouldn’t be com­plete without a visit to the First Con­gre­ga­tional Church. Each year, the church kicks off the win­ter sea­son with a three-day event called “Ye Olde English Christ­mas Faire.”

The faire be­gan in 1967 with church mem­bers Bob and Bar­bara Groth. Bob Groth built sets that fit around each ta­ble to give the main area the look of an olde English street, says Candi Turner, a church mem­ber who be­gan help­ing with the faire in the late 1960s when she was a high school stu­dent.

“We’ve been do­ing it ev­ery year since,” she says. “It’s al­ways the first week­end in De­cem­ber.”

Vis­i­tors can nosh on gourmet desserts at one of two seat­ings held Fri­day night, which kicks off the faire. Among the de­lights will be pump­kin, chocolate creme and pe­can pies, all pre­pared by church mem­bers, says Cathy Smith, a faire com­mit­tee mem­ber.

The can­dle­light af­fair is set for the fel­low­ship hall, where the ta­bles will be cov­ered in cloth. Mem­bers of the church’s teen group will act as servers.

All of the week­end’s fes­tiv­i­ties are held at the church.

Dec­o­rated booths will fill the church on Satur­day with enough items to com­plete any shop­ping list. Fresh green­ery ar­range­ments and door hang­ers, home­made breads and soup, a sweet shop and rum­mage sale will be fea­tured.

Vis­i­tors can also take pho­tos with Santa or visit the bearded man’s work­shop, where chil­dren can dec­o­rate cook­ies or work on a craft project, says Smith. A toy shop is also fea­tured.

“Last year we had bas­kets with movies and pop­corn and some with We­bkinz, types of things that are geared and priced for kids,” ex­plains Smith. In ad­di­tion, a “thread and nee­dle” booth will show­case only knit items, such as mit­tens, caps, sweaters and scarves. A si­lent auc­tion is also held.

The week­end rounds out with con­cert fea­tur­ing pi­anist Bill Groth, the son of the faire’s founders. A re­cep­tion will fol­low.

Al­though the church has been host­ing the faire for more than 40 years, it never seems to get old, says Turner.

“It’s tra­di­tion. We’ve been do­ing our Christ­mas pageant since 1942. Our church re­ally stays with some of the tra­di­tions,” ex­plains the church mem­ber. “It’s what we do.”

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