THIS HOLIDAY RETURN TO
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.”