Blissfield Yuletide Cheer arrives Friday, Nov. 8 and launches into three days of Christmas in a days-gone-by setting; candles; holiday cookies; Santa Claus and reindeer; shopping in quaint stores with clerks who handle each item with loving care and each customer with personal attention; the town Christmas tree; cocoa and cookies; train rides. And speaking of trains, yes, this year’s event is once again presented by The Old Road Dinner Train. Welcome to Blissfield, Michigan, home to the annual Blissfield Yuletide Cheer celebration that begins the second weekend in November every year as Santa makes his first stop in the area that Friday night for an old-fashioned tree-lighting and carol sing. And this year, he’s taking area kids and others on a train excursion on his arrival night! This year’s Yuletide season is highlighted by three major events: the Blissfield Yuletide Cheer presented by The Old Road Dinner Train Friday through Sunday, Nov. 8-10; and the Third Annual Wassail Fest Friday, Dec. 13, sponsored again this year by the Blissfield Rotary; and the annual Parade of Lights presented by Anderson-Rudd Funeral Home on Saturday, Dec. 14. The Second Annual Hot-Cha-Cha 5K Mug Run will also take place on the night of the Wassail Festival, Friday, Dec. 13, as a fundraiser for the Miss River Raisin Festival Scholarship Program. At each of the events, the Blissfield DDA/Main Street Program will have a special Welcome Tent in the downtown area where volunteers will sell for $10 a new, limited-edition ornament featuring a Toledo and Western steam engine that was instrumental in the construction of the Continental Sugar Company in Blissfield. The industry was so important to the local area that even the school mascot was originally the Sugar Boy. It will join last year’s the snow-covered, Kiwanis arch walking bridge over the River Raisin, and the inaugural ornament of the historic Depot, home of the Blissfield DDA/Main Street Program in the commemorative series. For those who missed the first two editions, sets of all three ornaments will be sold for $25 while supplies last.
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer — Friday, Nov. 8
With charming globed streetlamps glowing a welcome to all, the Village of Blissfield will be decked out in its holiday finery of wreaths, greens and twinkling lights.
Shopping, Drawing & Welcome Tent
As the town clock strikes 10 a.m., the downtown shops will open with festively decorated windows aglow, and holiday treats and treasures inside as storekeepers prepare to welcome guests looking for that special something for that special someone as well as decorative items for their own homes this Yuletide season. Stores will be open until 7 p.m. in the evening. For each $10 spent from now through Yuletide weekend, a drawing card will be awarded. Be sure to fill out your drawing card for the 3:30 p.m. Sunday Yuletide Grand Give-Away at the Historic Depot where lucky shoppers whose names are drawn will receive prizes including a big screen TV, Apple iPad, a weekend getaway in Frankenmuth, four tickets on the Old Road Dinner Train and a 15-speed bicycle. But plan to be there, because the winner must be present to take their big prize! These cards may be dropped off at participating merchants’ shops from now through Yuletide weekend, at the Historic Depot’s drawing barrel up until Yuletide. The barrel will move Yuletide weekend to the Welcome Tent, where community volunteers will be happy to meet you in the center of the downtown area. Participants include International Brassworks, Catering by Liz, Sutherland Family Chiropractic, Stone Hawk Tees, Blissfield Parts Co. – NAPA, Cake n’ Shakes, Squishy Tushy, Southward Custom Wood Products, Gilson’s Do it Best Hardware, Blissfield State Bank, Victorian Garden, Schmidt and Sons Pharmacy, TLC Community Credit Union, Bill’s Service, Royal Expressons, Beckey’s Kountry Kitchen, Joan and Co., The Packrat and Blissful Living.
Dining from casual to elegant fare
Restaurateurs have decked the halls as well and will serve a variety of delights throughout the holiday season. From a good, old country breakfast and sumptuous lunches to Italian and Mexican-American fare and a real, old-fashioned soda fountain where, yes, you can get your fountain favorites, and from casual dinners or elegant dining experiences — even on a moving train — Blissfield eateries are each known for how truly special they are.
Santa’s Arrival & Treelighting
Children (of all ages) anticipate the annual arrival of Santa, but when Santa arrives in Blissfield — one of his first stops of the season — the event is pure Yuletide magic. Listen for the sleighbells at 6:30 p.m. and watch for the red lights of the firetruck carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus and their helper for the evening, Miss River Raisin Festival Nicole Miller, from the parade’s starting point at the Schultz-Holmes Memorial Library. Parading through the downtown, all are welcome to fall in behind and proceed to the community Christmas tree at the Bachmayer Parking lot on North Lane Street — just across from the River Raisin and the Historic Depot where Santa will set up shop Saturday. This year, popular southeast Michigan vocalist Genevieve Rose Randall will lead the Christmas Carols throughout the evening. Santa and Miss River Raisin Festival will light the tree with Christmas carols to follow before everyone crosses the street to the Historic Depot for complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, sponsored by Blissfield Kiwanians, in a welcome to the season. If you get chilly, stop and warm yourself with the Blissfield Boy Scouts who will man a firepit at the Historic Depot! You won’t find that at a shopping mall or big box store! Then it’s off to the train station for a ride with Santa! For $2 per person, board at the A&B Depot east of the downtown area right on U.S. 223 for a ride from 7:30 to 9 p.m. with Santa and Mrs. Claus! The train will return to the depot after the excursion.
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer — Saturday, Nov. 9
The downtown stores in Blissfield will be open bright and early at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 9, and will serve customers until 7 p.m. Inside the warm and inviting shops, storekeepers offer an array of items from antiques to the most current collectible items, household goods, gifts, furniture, baby and child items, holiday decorations, artwork and more. Remember to fill out your drawing cards earned for every $10 in purchases from now through Yuletide weekend and leave them in a collection box located in participating businesses or at the drawing barrel at the Welcome Tent Yuletide Weekend. The more you spend, the better your chances at winning! Don’t forget the 3:30 p.m. Sunday Yuletide Grand Give-Away at the Historic Depot where lucky shoppers whose names are drawn will receive prizes including a big screen TV, Apple iPad, a weekend getaway in Frankenmuth, four tickets on the Old Road Dinner Train and a 15-speed bicycle. Again, come on back for more Yuletide Sunday as the lucky people whose names are drawn must be present to win! With parking behind the Lane Street stores on both the east (Newspaper Street) and west side (Pearl Street), as well as the Bachmayer Parking Lot on North Lane across from the Historic Depot and on streets throughout town, shopping is just steps away from your vehicle in Blissfield. The weekend is hosted by Blissfield Main Street/DDA Program.
One of the best holiday craft shows in the area is hosted at the Blissfield Elementary School each year on South Lane Street. Just follow the “main” street (Lane Street) from downtown, along the river and then curve to the left at the fork continuing to follow Lane to the Elementary School, just beyond the High School. The 38th annual Yuletide Craft Show will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10. More than 100 crafters and artisans from across Michigan and Ohio will line the halls with handmade decorations, live greenery, jewelry, candles, woodworking items, gifts, clothing, fabrics and more. There will also be delicious baked goods made from scratch. It smells like the holidays with fresh pine bows, candles, homemade cookies, pies, candies and breads. And the Blissfield DDA/Main Street Program will have a booth with the commemorative ornaments for sale!
A “Glass-ful” of Art and Shopping
Victorian Garden, located at the northwest corner of Lane Street and U.S. 223 in the historic hotel building, welcomes from The Toledo Museum Of Art, glass blowing artists John Piechocki and Colleen Kilbert from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Jim Yarrito Sunday who will display their beautiful art glass and yes, you will be able to purchase a unique piece of art glass to add to your collection. Jim Yarrito has blown glass at the Toledo Museum Of Art for the past seven years and will display his works from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10.
Breakfast with Santa
Everyone knows that Santa can’t resist milk and cookies. But did you know he loves breakfast, too? Mexibilly’s, 107 W. Adrian St., has invited Santa to breakfast and kids of all ages are invited to the buffet from 9-11a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9. Kids (12 and under) pay $4.95 and adults $7.95.
Santa and LIVE Reindeer!
Stop and pose for a photograph with Santa and Mrs. Claus from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Historic Depot on North Lane Street. Santa Claus Photos are made possible by Gleaners Insurance. And how did they get from the North Pole? Reindeer, of course. Santa’s real, live reindeer will be quartered at the Historic Depot from noon to 4 p.m. Children will love seeing these gentle creatures right up close. Their visit is sponsored by Blissfield State Bank and Bailey’s Family Chiropractic.
All Aboard for Train Rides
Blissfield was once a stop on the Erie-Kalamazoo Railroad, which began operating in 1836, seven years after Hervey Bliss founded the village but also making it the first railroad in operation west of Schenectady, NY. Today Blissfield continues to offer a variety of railroad experiences. The Adrian-Blissfield Railroad is a short-line railroad company still operating on the old route. The company’s “Old Road Dinner Train” is one of Blissfield’s most popular attractions and presenting sponsor of Blissfield Yuletide Cheer this year, often featuring murder mysteries and seasonally themed runs. Guests can sample some of the fun Saturday with train rides on the A & B Railroad. It costs only $2 to ride. The train will be rolling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will pick up and drop off passengers at A&B’s home depot — the Blissfield East Depot, next to the Blissfield Fire Hall on U.S. 223.
See the historic Village of Blissfield the old-fashioned way: from a festive, horse-drawn carriage. See the village at a relaxing, easy pace and be lulled by the clip-clop of the horses. Carriage rides are available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. The carriage rides are available for $5 per person at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Lane streets.
Used Book Sale & Gaming Day
Looking for a gift for the book-lovers in the family? Kids bored with shopping? Grown-ups need a break? The Schultz-Holmes Library will host a Five Hours of Fall Book Sale from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The library is located at 407 S. Lane, just a half block south of the downtown area. In addition, it’s Blissfield Gaming Day for kids at the library. Those 6 and under must be accompanied by an adult to supervise, but parents can drop kids 7 and up off for games as parents do some shopping.
Get “tickled” at the Feather Party
The Blissfield Township Fire Dept. is reviving its traditional Feather Party at the fire hall on U.S. 223. This party hasn’t been hosted in years and is back by popular demand. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the raffles for cash and other prizes begin at 7 p.m. The top cash prize is $500.
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer Sunday, Nov. 10
The holiday fun continues Sunday in the historic and quaint village of Blissfield. Sunday is the final day for earning chances with every $10 spent for the drawing for the 3:30 p.m. Sunday Yuletide Grand Give-Away. More on that below. The Welcome Tent is open from noon to 5 with the special commemorative 2013 Blissfield train ornaments for sale.
Shopping and Parking
The downtown stores in Blissfield will again be open and overflowing with Yuletide spirit from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Find personal service the way you remember. Antiques, gifts, the latest in collectibles, toys and presents for children, holiday decorations, items for the home, artwork and so much more. Come for lunch and finish with dinner in one of the outstanding dining establishments and shop ’til you almost drop in between. Parking is conveniently located behind the Lane Street shops in the Pearl Street and Newspaper Street lots — both between Jefferson Street and U.S. 223 — as well as on North Lane Street, just over the railroad tracks and across from the Historic Depot in the Bachmayer Parking Lot.
A Stilt-Walker Show
Neil Sauter, famed local stilt-walker who has trekked far and wide on stilts, will entertain in the downtown from noon to 4 p.m. Meet this inspirational man and enjoy the show!
Everyone knows that Santa can’t resist milk and cookies. Jolly old St. Nick will be at Cakes n’ Shakes, home of Blissfield’s original soda fountain, for milk and cookies from noon to 4 p.m. Sunday at the 133 S. Lane St., location. A small fee is charged for the goodies.
Sunday would be a perfect time for a horse-drawn carriage ride through picturesque Blissfield Village. Carriage rides will again be available from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon for $5 per person at the southwest corner of Jefferson and Lane streets.
Blown Glass Art
Victorian Garden, located at the northwest corner of Lane Street and U.S. 223 in the historic hotel building, welcomes from The Toledo Museum Of Art, glass-blowing artist Jim Yarrito from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10 for a meet-and-greet. Jim Yarrito has been blowing glass for the past 31 years. He has incorporated iron works into his creations and has been featured in many area shows and businesses. He will display his exquisite works of art with items available for purchase.
Meet the Alpacas
Alpacas of Cross Trails will be at the Yuletide festivities on Sunday, Nov. 10 with some of their fluffy alpacas. They will be at the Historic Depot on North Lane Street from noon to 5 p.m. Alpaca outerwear will be for sale along with raw fleece, rovings and yarn. Alpacas of Cross Trails is located nearby in Riga and is home to 50 Peruvian Suri alpacas. Suri alpacas are best known for their luxurious drapy fleece with natural luster that the textile industry covets, hosted by Victorian Garden.
Santa always rewards good girls and boys. Blissfield rewards good shoppers, too, during Yuletide weekend with a the Blissfield Yuletide Grand Give-Away. For every $10 shoppers have spent since early October in Blissfield at participating merchants, they will have received an entry card to enter them into a drawing for fabulous prices. There is no limit to how many times someone can enter, but they must be present to win. This year the prizes include a big screen television, an Apple iPad, a weekend get-a-wa y to Frankenmuth, four tickets on the Old Road Dinner Train and a 15 speed bicycle. Be at the Historic Depot at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, and see if you are a lucky winner!