Greet the holiday season in a historic place that Norman Rockwell might have considered the perfect backdrop for one of his holiday scenes: the charming village of Blissfield, which has just this year been named to the National Register of Historic Places!
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer begins with a day of shopping in a small village you will swear you have seen on a Christmas card, then gets into full swing as a Blissfield Township Fire Dept. firetruck carries Santa and Mrs Claus into town on Friday, Nov. 13. From there, the Yuletide unfolds into three days of Christmas in a days-gone-by setting; candles; holiday cookies; Santa 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 and carriage rides.
The Blissfield DDA/Main Street Design Team, under the guidance of Mike Gunter, has decorated urns for the season and the Blissfield DPW has festooned the village with lights, greens, banners and an old-fashioned holiday swag over Lane Street. Blissfield DDA/Main Street Program Interim Director Denise Adams and Yuletide chairperson Gwen Dusa have sent a priority order to the North Pole for Santa to bring a dusting of snow to complete the scene.
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.
This year’s Yuletide season is highlighted by three major events: the Blissfield Yuletide Cheer Friday through Sunday, Nov. 13-15; the Fifth Annual Wassail Fest Friday, Dec. 11, sponsored again by the Blissfield Rotary; and the annual Parade of Lights presented by Anderson-Rudd Funeral Home on Saturday, Dec. 12. The Fourth Annual Hot-Cha-Cha 5K Mug Run will also take place on Wassail Fest night, Friday, Dec. 11.
At each of the events, the Blissfield DDA/Main Street Program will have a special Welcome Tent in the downtown area where community volunteers, recruited by Denise Adams from the Outreach Team, will meet and greet. At Cakes n’ Shakes, Blissful Living and Lane Street Blooms, a new, limited-edition ornament depicting the Toledo & Western Electric Railway Co. Depot — known as the “Teeter & Wobble” will be available for $12. It joins four other collectible ornaments: In 2014, the Victorsville One-Room School House; 2013, a Toledo and Western steam engine; in 2012, the snow-covered, Kiwanis arch walking bridge over the River Raisin, and the inaugural 2011 ornament of the historic Depot, home of the Blissfield DDA/Main Street Program. Limited numbers of those older ornaments are available at $10.
Throughout this special section are the events planned for each of the three weekends. You are warmly invited to join the bliss and be a part of these holiday scenes which you will swear are straight out of the Saturday Evening Post, but uniquely updated to the tastes and needs of today. Come for the special Yuletide events, but also for a day or a weekend. Visit during the week and other weekends during the season when you wish to find the perfect gift in a truly enjoyable shopping experience complete with breakfast, lunch and dinner from casual fare to the finest dining in the tri-state area.
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer:
Friday, Nov. 13
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. A new village sound system will fill the air with holiday music.
Shopping, Drawing & Welcome Tent
As the vintage-style town clock strikes 10 a.m., the downtown shops will open with festively bedecked 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.
For each $10 spent from Nov. 1 through Yuletide weekend, a drawing card will be awarded. Be sure to fill out your drawing card for the 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15, Yuletide Grand Give-Away at the Historic Depot where lucky shoppers whose names are drawn will receive grand prizes.
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, and at the Historic Depot’s drawing barrel Yuletide Saturday and Sunday.
Participants include: Cake n’ Shakes, Blissfield State Bank, Schmidt and Sons Pharmacy, TLC Community Credit Union, Lane Street Blooms, Beckey’s Kountry Kitchen, The Packrat , Blissful Living, Michigan Extreme Outdoors, Pumpernickels, Karefish gifts & girl stuff, The Vine Haus, Blissfield General Store, Eric Slusher Flooring, Blissfield Antique Mall,
Bill’s Service, Southern Sass, Joan and Co., Victorian Garden and Lena’s Italian Restaurant.
Dining from casual to elegant fare
Blissfield’s unique 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 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
Throughout history and still today, 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 from the parade’s starting point at the Blissfield State Bank.
Parading through the downtown, all are welcome to wave at Santa as he proceeds 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.
Santa 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!
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer:
Saturday, Nov. 14
Holiday Shopping in an Historic Place
The downtown stores in Blissfield will be open bright and early at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, 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, gifts for infants to senior citizens, 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 Historic Depot during Yuletide Weekend. The more you spend, the better your chances at winning! Don’t forget the 4:30 p.m. Sunday Yuletide Grand Give-Away at the Historic Depot where lucky shoppers whose names are drawn will receive big prizes: an Apple Watch Sport – 42 mm – aluminum silver case; Beats Studio Over-the-Ear Headphones; two Cedar Point tickets; and one each of a $300, $150 and $75 Blissfield Bucks certificates. The Blissfield Bucks can be spent only at participating merchants: Cake n’ Shakes, Blissfield State Bank, Schmidt and Sons Pharmacy, TLC Community Credit Union, Lane Street Blooms, Beckey’s Kountry Kitchen, The Packrat , Blissful Living, Michigan Extreme Outdoors, Pumpernickels, Karefish gifts & girl stuff, The Vine Haus, Blissfield General Store, Eric Slusher Flooring, Blissfield Antique Mall, Bill’s Service, Southern Sass, Joan and Co., Victorian Garden and Lena’s Italian Restaurant.
Again, come on back for more Yuletide Sunday as the lucky people whose names are drawn must be present to win! DDA/Main Street’s Sandy Lietzke, Doris DeNudt, Dr. Ashley Bailey, Denise Adams and Gwen Dusa have been busy elves coordinating and implementing the Grand Give-Away.
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.
If you love hand-made gifts, 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 40th annual Yuletide Craft Show will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14. 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 you will also find the Toledo & Western Electric Railway Co. Depot ornament on sale at the craft show in addition to Cakes ‘n Shakes, Blissful Living and Lane Street Blooms — again, just $12 for this collectible.
Breakfast with Santa
Everyone knows that Santa can’t resist milk and cookies. But did you know he ho-ho-hopes for a delicious breakfast, too?
The Main Street Stable, 116 S. Main St., has invited Santa to breakfast at the Stable Loft, and kids of all ages are invited to the buffet of scrambled eggs, hash browns, pancakes, bacon, orange juice and coffee from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 15. Kids (12 and under) pay $3 and adults $5. Uckele Health & Nutrition will sponsor this event. There are no reservations, though; this is on a first-come basis.
Lost Arts Demonstrations
Lost Arts demonstrations in many stores have been coordinated by Martie Lubinski. Look for Richard Kawucha doing scrimshaw and Danny Bowles weaving at Michigan Extreme Outdoors, 116 S. Lane; Beverly Larsen operating an antique sock knitting machine at Cakes n’ Shakes, 133 S. Lane; and LuAnn Kanitz and Pat Oliver demonstrating spinning on a spinning wheel and loom weaving at Victorian Garden, 102 W. Adrian (U.S. 223). Demonstrations will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
Real reindeer and picture yourself with Santa!
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, Uckele Health & Nutrition and Bailey Family Chiropractic.
Photos with Santa, sponsored by Gleaners, will be taken in the Depot. Say “cheesecake!”
You Gotta Have Art
Melissa Sullivan, fusion glass artist, will be featured at Blissfield General Store,105 S. Lane. She will have her glass pieces and garden art available and will discuss how her pieces are made.
Yuletide Fun Activities
Activities are planned at Karefish gifts and girl stuff, 115 N. Main, across from the Hathaway House, which will have paint-your-own cookies with Karri, stamp and color letters to Santa and Olaf snowflake-making from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m Saturday and Sunday; and horse-and-carriage rides with Olaf and Anna from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday.
All Aboard for Train Rides and Model Trains
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, often featuring murder mysteries and seasonally themed runs.
Guests can sample some of the fun Saturday with train rides on the A & B Railroad. 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. Tickets are $2.
Blissfield Model Railroad Club has a new home at 109 E. Adrian St. (U.S. 223) and the public can see even more work completed on the C&O and Clinchfield railroads in the Appalachains. The layout has nearly doubled in sice since Christmas 2014 and visitors will see many additions and a lot more detailed scenery. It will be open to guests from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday of Yuletide. Admission is free, but donations are always appreciated to continue the growth of the layour. More information can be found at www.bmrr.org.
Many businesses offer special bags and wrap for gifts. In addition, the River Raisin Festival Committee will be custom wrapping gifts from 1-4 p.m. at The Advance, 121 Newspaper Street, for a small per-package donation. If you have special wrap to be used, they can do that, too. Bring all your gifts and save some time!
See the historic Village of Blissfield the old-fashioned way: from a festive, horse-drawn carriage. Carriage rides are available from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Carriage rides are available for $5 per person at D&P Communications corner, the southeast corner of Jefferson and Lane streets.
Blissfield Yuletide Cheer
Sunday, Nov. 15
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 4:30 p.m. Sunday Yuletide Grand Give-Away. More on that below.
The Welcome Tent is open from noon to 5.
Look for ELFIE!!!
Elfie will be in the downtown area doing Santa’s bidding, so get caught being good! Elfie will randomly choose visitors to receive Blissfield Bucks in $5 and $10 increments redeemable exclusively at Yuletide participating merchants: Participants include: Cake n’ Shakes, Blissfield State Bank, Schmidt and Sons Pharmacy, TLC Community Credit Union, Lane Street Blooms, Beckey’s Kountry Kitchen, The Packrat , Blissful Living, Michigan Extreme Outdoors, Pumpernickels, Karefish gifts & girl stuff, The Vine Haus, Blissfield General Store, Eric Slusher Flooring, Blissfield Antique Mall, Bill’s Service, Southern Sass, Joan and Co., Victorian Garden and Lena’s Italian Restaurant.
Lost Arts and Decorating Demonstrations
Lost Arts demonstrations will continue on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Martie Lubinski will demonstate spinning at Blissful Living, 122 S. Lane, and LuAnn Kanitz and Pat Oliver will be at Victorian Garden, 102 W. Adrian, with spinning and loom weaving.
At Lane Street Blooms, there will be a home decor demonstration at 2 p.m.
Come and Shop!
The downtown stores in Blissfield will again be 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.
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 — and on North Lane Street, across from the Historic Depot in the Bachmayer Lot.
Santa’s Back for Milk and Cookies!
Everyone knows 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 12:30-2:30 p.m. Sunday at the 133 S. Lane St., location for a small fee. The Timefinder is the sponsor.
Wrap it All Up!
Several of the Yuletide businesses provide lovely special bags and wrap for gifts. In addition, the River Raisin Festival Committee will again custom wrap gifts from 1-4 p.m. at The Advance, 121 Newspaper Street, for a small per-package donation. Their wrap or yours … bring a carload and watch Santa smile with one more job done!
Sunday would be a perfect time for a horse-drawn carriage ride through picturesque Blissfield. Carriage rides will again be available from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon for $5 per person at the southeast corner of Jefferson and Lane streets.
A Glass-ful of Art’
Victorian Garden, located at the 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 Sunday who will display his beautiful art glass and yes, you will be able to purchase a unique piece of art glass to add to your collection. Yarrito, who has practiced his art for 32 years, has blown glass at the Toledo Museum Of Art for many years and will display his works from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 15.
Tentatively, fusion glass artist Melissa Sullivan will be featured at the Blissfield General Store,105 S. Lane St., but this wasn’t yet confirmed at press time. She will chat with customers about how her glass and garden art pieces are created.
Model Railroad Open House
All aboard! Blissfield Model Railroad Club will again be open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Nov. 15, at 109 E. Adrian St. (U.S. 223).