Friday, December 02, 2011

Wellfleet's Deck This Hall Blasts Off With Holiday Cheer

December is upon us and December, in Wellfleet, means head to Preservation Hall with greenery and community spirit. Events will be taking place all month. Yes, not one weekend of Christmas cheer but three! The fun starts with wreath making. The second wreath-making session took place yesterday afternoon and evening. Along with crafters, bakers were also welcome to join the crew in the kitchen who were turning out macaroons at a fast clip. The table was full of yummy treats that will go on sale Saturday. There will also be a Gingerbread House contest, new in 2011. (Head judge will be Chris Kelley of Sweet Baking.)

The basement smelled heavenly when I arrived with my wreath in hand. Yes, this year I decided to get a head start and use Chez Sven greenery. The euonymus outside spoke to me: “I HAVE WREATH ASPIRATIONS,” it hissed. I cut several large branches and wound them into a circle. Sven helped for a while as I tucked and bent. Now, I’m not a craft-y person, certainly not as good with a glue gun as Miles, but I figured here was an opportunity to make a statement of some kind. In about fifteen minutes my wreath was ready. Well, almost. I tied on a bow and added a Chico bag as decoration. Suddenly the name came to me: NEVER BAGLESS. Because all the wreaths at the wreath pageant have names, in case you had forgotten. (Last year I created STOP PLASTIC POLLUTION.)

Into my car we went, the wreath and I, driving two minutes into town. Organizer-in-chief Tracy Plaut showed me to a table laden with crafting materials. I found a star and a bow. NEVER BAGLESS, right above, was complete. (And yes, those are marshmallows to the left, a wreath made by Tracy herself.)

Meanwhile, a lot was going on around me. Christmas masterpieces were being created. Cookies eaten. Elves were coming and going. Kim Shkapich, Celeste Makely, and Amy Samuelson, left, stirred and rolled in the kitchen. Tracy seemed to be everywhere at once, placing finished wreaths on the wall, chatting with newcomers, urging those hard at work to enjoy the snacks. And, there were many children this year. No wonder! Up on the stage I spied the makings of Christmas cookies, an activity my granddaughter in California would have loved. Several little girls were already hard at work.

“I suggest you test on the burned ones,” suggested Debra Joy Strain, who shows off her finished wreath at the top of the post.

Debra Joy told me she makes a living doing oil painting restoration and had lived in Mexico for a number of years. She came “home” with her bilingual eight-year-old daughter and discovered Preservation Hall.

“This is really nice,” she said with unfettered enthusiasm, as if we lived in Los Angeles and the Getty Museum had suddenly popped up on the hillside. “There are so many amazing people in Wellfleet, but you don’t usually get to meet them.”

I could only agree. Preservation Hall brings us together. That’s what community is all about.

Don’t forget to attend the Wreath Pageant this Saturday from 10 to 4 and stay tuned for updates on future weekend events ...