Get your was­sail on

First Fri­day will fea­ture hol­i­day drinks and finds.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - — JILL WHALEN

HA­ZLE­TON — Vis­i­tors to down­town Ha­zle­ton on Fri­day will have the op­por­tu­nity to shop for one-of-a-kind gifts in a fes­tive at­mos­phere.

They’ ll also have the chance to sam­ple hol­i­day drinks and treats dur­ing First Fri­day, which or­ga­niz­ers are call­ing “Was­sail­fest and Hol­i­day Night Mar­ket.”

The event be­gins at 5 p.m. from var­i­ous lo­ca­tions. Fif­teen “es­tab­lished” busi­nesses and more than 30 “guest” re­tail­ers will be on board.

“This is one of our big­gest First Fri­days with the num­ber of busi­nesses and or­ga­ni­za­tions par­tic­i­pat­ing,” said Krista Sch­nei­der, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Down­town Ha­zle­ton Al­liance for Progress, one of the First Fri­day or­ga­niz­ers.

Was­sail­fest and Hol­i­day Night Mar­ket will have a va­ri­ety of things to do for all mem­bers of the fam­ily — in­clud­ing a photo booth for Christmas card pho­tos, an ugly sweater con­test and a Christmas tree mar­ket.

There will also be the­ater and art ex­hibits, the city’s tree light­ing cer­e­mony, live mu­sic and en­ter­tain­ment.

Shop­pers will have ac­cess to a va­ri­ety of items.

“They’ll find mostly hand­made items in­clud­ing jew­elry, cloth­ing such as scarves, apr ons, etc .; or­na­ments, books signed by lo­cal au­thors; new and up­cy­cled fur­ni­ture; an­tiques; fine jew­elry; bath prod­ucts; ar­ti­san baked goods; hand­made pot­tery; do g gie treats; hand­made bath prod­ucts; hand­made soaps; vin­tage cloth­ing for men; fine choco­lates; honey and honey-based prod­ucts; and other food items,” Sch­nei­der said.

“Of course the restau­rants and shops also of­fer gift cer­tifi­cates that make great stock­ing stuffers.”

Tick­ets for food and drink tast­ings are $10 per per­son on­line or $12 at the door. A

tast­ing mug will be pro­vided to those who pur­chase tick­ets.

Hosts will also be pro­vid­ing sam­ples of hol­i­day foods and drinks, such as was­sail (hot mulled cider), hot co­coa, gluh­wein, co­quito, eggnog, boilo and other fa­vorites.

They’ ll sam­ple can­noli, baked goods, paste les, dough­nuts, co­conut pud­ding, sconces and more. And along the way, they’ll en­joy car­ol­ing and danc­ing by All That Dancin’ and singing by the MPB Play­ers.

Par­tic­i­pants will re­ceive a map and a pass­port that con­tains the tast­ing menu. Those who have their pass- port stamped at all lo­ca­tions will qual­ify for a chance to win a $100 gift cer­tifi­cate that can be used at any par­tic­i­pat­ing lo­ca­tion.

Pick up maps, pass­ports and mugs in the lobby of the Markle Build­ing, 8 W. Broad St., be­tween 4 and 6 p.m. For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact Krista Sch­nei­der at ks ch ne id er@ down­town ha­zle­ton.org or 570-455-1509.

Other events in­clude a Christmas photo booth and ugly sweater con­test from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Sage Ex­change, 11 E. Broad St. Chris Ad­val Pro­duc­tions will of­fer in­stant film, a dig­i­tal file or tra­di­tional print. Wear an ugly sweater and have your photo dis­played for vot­ing.

The tree light­ing cer­e­mony will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at City Hall. Santa will make an ap­pear­ance.

Sch­nei­der said the event is grow­ing.

“If you give peo­ple a rea­son to come down­town with fun things to do, they will come. And when you pair that with shop­ping, it’s a win­win. Peo­ple al­ways tell me they didn’t re­al­ize how many nice es­tab­lish­ments there are down­town. The idea is to in­tro­duce them to the shop own­ers via the event so they’ll come back,” she said.

STAN­DARD-SPEAKER FILE

At­ten­dees of last year’s Was­sail­fest hop aboard the Was­sail­fest Ex­press to en­joy the 17 lo­ca­tions of­fer­ing drinks, food and gifts. This year’s cel­e­bra­tion just about triples the num­ber of ven­dors set­ting up shop in down­town Ha­zle­ton.

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