Get your wassail on
First Friday will feature holiday drinks and finds.
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.
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.