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Welcoming the Holidays in Mendon & Upton!

Residents of all ages can welcome in the holidays during the weekend of December 6 through 8 with a Santa parade, tree lighting, lots of shopping and eating, visits from Old St. Nick and even fireworks! Here Santa is shown arriving in Mendon at last year's parade. Town Crier file photo

The first weekend in December has become a tradition in Mendon and Upton for many to officially kick off the holidays, and this year is no different. Once again, the communities are playing host to a number of fun and festive events that include a Santa parade and tree lighting, as well as lots and lots of shopping, eating, and of course visits from Old St. Nick.

The festivities begin the evening of Friday, December 6, with Mendon's 4th Annual Santa Parade and Tree Lighting sponsored by the Mendon Brothers of the Brush and the Mendon Festival Committee. The parade will start at 7 p.m. traveling from Northbridge Rd. to North Ave. and onto Main St. ending at Founder's Park.

Santa Claus is expected to arrive via parade float and then greet children at Founder's Park. The event will also include fireworks sponsored by Custom Home Realty and the Mendon Festival Committee at about 7:30 p.m. The winner of the Taft Library's coloring contest raffle will help throw the switch to light up the Park. Burgers, hot dogs, and other refreshments with be provided at no cost. "We tried to keep this a free event for the community," said Brothers of the Brush member John Dudley.

The following day, let the shopping and lunching

begin. Saturday, December 7 is the traditional Hollyberry Fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mendon Unitarian Universalist Congregation on Maple St. The Mendon Lion's Club and Unitarian Church are once again co-hosting the Fair.

For the first time this year, local crafters have been invited to partake in Hollyberry Fair. The Mendon's Lions tables will again be full of donated Christmas items and homemade baked good for sale. And a jolly old fellow

dressed in red is scheduled to arrive around 11 a.m. Monies raised by the Lion's Club will go to support a Mendon family during the holidays.

For lunch, the Unitarian Church's delicious corn and clam chowder, clam cakes, and macaroni and cheese will be served for everyone to enjoy from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

As the Unitarian Congregation is celebrating the building's 200th Anniversary, attendees are encouraged to walk through the beautiful, historical church.

Just a few miles away in Upton, several other popular holiday events are also taking place over the weekend. On Saturday, December 7, the United Parish will be

holding it's annual Holiday Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Multiple vendors will be on hand selling all sorts of items such as artwork, jewelry, crafts, books, and much more. Handmade baked good will also be on sale. For the kids, there will be face painting, s'mores making, and photos with Santa. Proceeds help benefit the United Parish's Early Learning Center. United Parish is located at 1 Church St. in Upton.

Right between the other two fairs at 151 Mendon St., Upton, is St. Gabriel's Parish, which is hosting two holiday events. The St. Gabriel's Christmas Fair is also on Saturday, December 7 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Christmas Fair offers fresh balsam wreaths, cemetery baskets, and table top arrangements for sale. Many themed baskets will be up for raffle and a New Gift Boutique featuring new and like new items, Attic Treasures, Oldye Tyme Christmas decorations, and a Christmas craft and holiday decor section will have something for everyone. And Gems and Jewels has a collection of jewelry to suit every style.

Lunch items for sale include soup, sandwiches, hot dogs, and delicious grape nut pudding. A bake table will offer pastries, candy, jellies and jams too. Santa will be visiting early in the day.

The second event at St. Gabriel's in the building's lower

level, is the Trees for Hope Festival. The community-wide event features themed decorated Christmas trees to be raffled off. Proceeds will support the 15-40 Connection that promotes early cancer detection and the ALS Therapy Development Institute, a local nonprofit biotech company working to end ALS. The trees will be on display Saturday, December 7 and Sunday, December 8.


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