Winterfest 2007, presented by the Hawley-Lake Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Hawley Partnership, is quickly approaching and preparations are well underway for an even more fun and festive celebration.


Winterfest 2007, presented by the Hawley-Lake Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Hawley Partnership, is quickly approaching and preparations are well underway for an even more fun and festive celebration.

Volunteers were busy last week and over the weekend hanging Hawley's decorations and decorating the Bandstand.  Bob Myers of Myers and Maintenance used his bucket truck to hang the snowflake lights and the new swag lights hung across Main Ave. at Church St. and River St. Myers was joined by volunteers and employees from Teeters Furniture who used a ladder to install the snowflake lights.

Myers said some of the lights are easier to install with ladders from the grounds because of their locations on the poles and where they are located in town. He said last year light on Main Ave. between Church and River proved difficult because they had to hold or wait for a parking spot for the truck.

He said he was happy the project went quickly this year.

Myers said seven snowflakes were added this year in addition to the snow flake swag. The volunteers made a practice run at assembling the swag lights in Teeters parking lot before getting on Main Ave. to install them.

Myers and the volunteers then waited for traffic to decrease later Friday night to pull his truck into the center of the street and lift the lights into place.

Volunteers were out decorating the Bandstand in Bingham Park Saturday. They hung wreaths and wrapped lights around the banisters and columns to prepare for the festive season. More volunteers will be on hand this Saturday from 3 to  5 pm to decorate the Bandstand Tree.

The Borough The Park and Recreation Committee and the Movies in the Park Project are sponsoring the tree decorating project. The idea, Juan Espino, co-chair of the Movies in the Park, said was to make the tree a community Christmas Tree. "This will be a wonderful to do for the whole family," he said.

Organizers are asking everyone to bring a favorite ornament or make a new one to put on the tree. They said the ornaments should not be breakable. Espino asked everyone to come out and have some hot chocolate and cookies and sing Christmas Carols. The official Tree lighting will be at 5 pm.

This year's festival will showcase many favorites of previous years as well as highlight new entertainment and events throughout Hawley.

Winterfest

The fun officially begins on Friday evening, December 7 with the Opening Ceremony and bonfire. This year's ceremony, which will be held at Bingham Park at 6 pm, will feature master of ceremonies Sandy Gabrielson, the Wallenpaupack High School Band, carolers, free hot chocolate, a bonfire lighting ceremony, and much more.

Other Friday evening activities include the Hensel Photo Exhibit at the Hawley Municipal Building from 4 to 6 pm and the Winterfest Art Exhibit and wine and cheese reception at the Artisan Gallery on Main Avenue from 6 to 8 pm. New for Friday's festivities, nationally acclaimed restaurant Torte Knox on Main Avenue will host a Winterfest opening ceremony dinner/pre-concert dinner from 4 to 6:30 pm. Check out torteknox.com for more details.

The highlight of Friday's activities is the Virgin Consort concert, which will be held at Queen of Peace church, Chestnut Street, on Friday night at 8 pm. The Virgin Consort, directed by Hawley's Kyler Brown, is an internationally acclaimed choral ensemble of eight world renowned vocalists. This year marks the third year the Virgin Consort, known as a hallmark of the holiday season in New York City, visits Hawley for Winterfest.

The big day for Winterfest traditionally is Saturday, and this year is no exception. There's so much to do, whether visiting with the family or with that special someone, there is truly something for everyone. Saturday, December 8, kicks off at 9:30 am when the first of the Holiday House Tours leaves the Hawley Municipal building. Tours run all day long and sell out fast so get your tickets early.

Also, starting at 9 am on Saturday, Cafe' Buon Giorno, a new eatery at the corner of Church and Penn Sts., will host a champagne brunch in the celebration of Winterfest 2007. With so much to do all day, a good morning brunch should power you up for the day. Well, at least until lunch.

Activities continue throughout the day including music at the Black Bear Conservatory of Music, the Hawley library, the Looking Glass Gallery and many of the restaurants throughout town. Additional Saturday fun includes portraits with Santa at Penny Lane Candies and Candles, book signings at the library, horse and carriage rides leaving from Miss Elly's Antiques, a free holiday show at the Ritz Theater at 2:30 pm on both Saturday and Sunday, and Christmas Tree Sales at the Hawley Train Station.

Another popular choice for Winterfest Saturday is the sixth Annual Cookie Walk and Victorian Tea held at the Presbyterian Church on Church Street. With a huge variety of delicious cookies and light beverages served, this event is always a favorite for the whole family.

 Plus, don't forget, the Winterfest Express train ride leaves Honesdale at 11 am and arrives in Hawley at 11:45 am. Call the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce at 253-1960 for more details on that.

There will also be a variety of activities at the Hawley Library, including gingerbread cookie decorating, live music and a whole slate of author book signings and readings.

New this year for Saturday night, the Hawley Cultural Center will come alive with Victorian dancing. Top Hats and Lace, a local Victorian Dance group will perform live at 7 pm followed by social dancing and light snacks at the cultural center. Many area restaurants will also feature dinner specials and live entertainment on Saturday night.

Winterfest 2007 closes on Sunday, December 9, but not before a third full day of fun. Sunday starts, traditionally, with the Settlers Inn brunch with music provided by harpist Diane O'Malley. A full day of fun including music throughout town, portraits with Santa,  horse and carriage rides, tree sales and more rounds out the last day of Winterfest.

Also, on Sunday at 3 pm, the Winterfest Raffle winner will be drawn at the Artisan Gallery. Tickets for this year's raffle are $5 each and will be available for sale at many merchants throughout Hawley. The prize for this year's raffle is an original painting donated by local artist Barbara Briden that was framed professionally by Peter Daniel. The painting will be on display all weekend at the Hawley library.

Last, but certainly not least, a special thank you to the Winterfest sponsors. This year's major sponsors are Lighthouse Harbor Marina, AM Skier Insurance, The Dime Bank, The Settlers Inn, the Pocono Mountain Visitors Bureau, and The Hawley-Lake Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce. Other main sponsors include Woodloch, The Boat House, Olsommer's Tree Farm, Davis R. Chant Real Estate, PPL, Miss Elly's Antiques and Such, Gumble Brothers, The Falls Port Inn, and Penny Lane Candies and Candles. Benefactors and Friends are Amanda Meyer Photography, Rex Brand Tree Experts, Schoenagel Surveying, No Limits Physical Therapy, Aqua PA, Leeward, Wayne Memorial Hospital and Teeters'. This year's media sponsors include The Weekly Almanac, Bold Gold Media Group, Happenings Magazine, The News Eagle, and The River Reporter.

Although there have been a wide variety of activities and events listed, there are still many, many more things happening during Winterfest 2007. For a complete list of events, go to www.hawleywinterfest.com or pick up an informational brochure throughout the area. For more details, call the Hawley-Lake Wallenpaupack Chamber of Commerce at 570-226-3191.