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Shop owners and customers show their appreciation on Small Business Saturday, November 30

by Christine Galeone

Thanksgiving is almost here. The warmth of family gatherings should take the chill off of the wintry weather. And not too long after, a similar kind of warmth will emanate throughout Grafton.

On Sunday Dec. 8, for the 24th year, the Grafton Recreation Department will hold its Grafton Celebrates the Holidays event. It’s sponsored by businesses and organizations, including Templeman Tree, Unibank and the Yesod Foundation, Inc. The event will feature a craft and vendor fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grafton Municipal Center gym, festivities at 30 “Frosty Stops” and the annual tree lighting on the Grafton Common around 4:45 p.m. after caroling and Santa’s arrival via fire truck around 4:30 p.m.

Other event highlights include the Gingerbread House contest voting from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the alpacas at the Grafton Municipal Center, located at 30 Providence Road, the Polar Express Trackless Train Rides at Unibank, located at 89 Worcester Street, Santa’s Workshop at Savers Bank, located at 96 Worcester Street, photos with Santa from 12 to 3:30 p.m. at Homefield Credit Union, located at 86 Worcester Street, a fire truck and refreshments at the new Stephen H. Roney Memorial Park from 12 to 3 p.m. and s’mores around a campfire (weather permitting) at Brigham Hill Community Barn, located at 37 Wheeler Road.

The Grafton Common will also be filled with holiday cheer. For those who like music, there will be several options. While Santa’s arrival will be preceded by caroling by the Grafton Girl Scouts and music by guitarist Mike Tarara from Music Matters, there will be other performers as well. Costumed performers from The Hanover Theatre production of “A Christmas Carol” will sing carols at 12 p.m. and 1p.m., and there will be holiday jazz music at the Unitarian Universalist Society Church’s Local Artisans Faire. Apple Tree Arts Community Chorus will give a free holiday concert in the Town House’s Great Hall at 2:30 p.m.

Those who enjoy dancing might want to visit Beatz Dance Studio. In addition to crafts, there will be brief dance performances throughout the day.

Kids under age 16 can stop by Hunter’s Grille & Tap at the Grafton Inn. They will be able to decorate holiday cookies.

Kids who love Frosty the Snowman can meet him (from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.) at the Grafton Country Store. And for kids who love dogs, Quite Fetching barkery has a treat for them. Kids can have their photos taken with Santa Paws and Mrs. Clause.

There will also be a teddy bear clinic at Kids on the Common Pediatrics, Christmas stories for families at the Congregational Church of Grafton and a global nativity display at the Baptist Church. And  JCSI/BestExec Recruiting will give visitors a chance to judge its room decorating contest.   

Down the road, Off the Common Antiques will give kids the chance to make ornaments, and there will be free cookies for their dogs. Nearby, Bushel N Peck will have a build-your-own holiday cookies table for kids and free chicken noodle soup. Other nearby businesses that are participating include Silver Spruce Montessori with a story-time for small children, Touchstone Community School with children’s crafts and an artisan craft sale and Wong’s Restaurant with samples of some of its dishes from 12:30 to 3 p.m. And at Grafton TV’s new location at 26 Providence Road, visitors with thumb drives can make video messages for loved ones who are deployed overseas.

The Grafton Fire Department will once again give children a chance to write letters to Santa and mail them in a North Pole mailbox. From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Grafton Police Department, children can get badges, coloring books and a chance to meet McGruff the Crime Dog, while adults can receive free gun locks and crime prevention information. And the Siloam Lodge of Masons will be there with its free child identification program (CHIP).

In North Grafton, children under 12 can each receive a free slice of pizza at Pepperoni Express, while visitors to the Grafton Grill can receive a free kids’ meal ($6 or under) with a purchase of an adult entrée. After eating, people might want to stop by Premier Sport Taekwondo where kids age four and older can participate in martial arts, dodgeball and an obstacle course.  

People who are looking for Christmas trees can buy them at Houlden Farm. The North Grafton farm will also give children the chance to make stocking stuffers and have photos taken with a North Pole guest from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Kids can also have their pictures taken with a visitor from the North Pole at Signature Finishes. And adults can find Christmas trees at Perreault Nursery, while children can make holiday crafts.

Kids can also make special crafts at Truth Organic Spa and at Reunion Tap & Table. And at Studio 79, visitors can make cards for our troops.

Other participating North Grafton businesses and organizations include Simply Orthodontics with a winter wonderland selfie photo booth, the Grafton Public Library with a seasonal activity, SuperCuts with specials and giveaways and Willard House & Clock Museum with tea and light refreshments from 1 to 3 p.m. In addition to the campfire at Brigham Hill Community Barn, Community Harvest Project, Grafton Garden Club, Grafton Historical Society, Grafton Land Trust and the Shakespeare Club of Grafton will have displays.

.In South Grafton, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., visitors can tour the historic Farnumsville Fire House. From 2 until 4 p.m., the Grafton Historical Society will hold an open house at its museum, where there will be refreshments. And at the Massachusetts State Police Museum, visitors can meet Ed Locke, the “runaway” from the famous Norman Rockwell painting. At Driven Self Defense, there will martial arts activities for kids, silicone wristbands and a selfie photo booth.     

Finally, people who want to give back to the community will have an opportunity. They may donate new toys for local kids (through the Grafton Food Bank) at Savers Bank, the Grafton Fire Department and the Grafton Municipal Center. They may also donate non-perishable food at the Grafton Country Store.

For more details about Grafton Celebrates the Holidays, please visit the Grafton Recreation Department’s website,          

Contact Christine with your business news items at [email protected]