Holiday festivities are in full swing in Old Lyme, East Lyme, and Lyme with a whole host of big events in every town, with Niantic's 24th annual light parade being one of the biggest.
Just a quick note, in case I wasn't the only person who showed up at Old Lyme Town Hall expecting to see Christmas lights and finding only darkened doors, yesterday's Christmas Tree lighting ceremony was postponed until next Friday at 4 p.m.
And now for the weekend rundown.
1. Old Lyme lights up today at 4 p.m., when all the merchants on Lyme Street will turn on their holiday decorations but the festivities are already underway both on Lyme Street and at Old Lyme Market Place on Halls Road, with strolling musicians and singers, and photos with Santa.
All the merchants on both streets are offering holidays specials and this is the place to find some really unique gifts, particularly at the Lyme Tree Women's Exchange and the Bowerbird, and works of art for sale at the Lyme Art Asssociation, the Cooley Gallery, and the Lyme Art Academy.
Because it's always better to give than to receive, Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall will be open to receive donations of nonperishable food for people and pets, new books and pajamas, and toys to benefit local families. Old Lyme Historical Society will also be there selling its latest book and calendar and High Hopes Therapeutic Riding will be selling stocking stuffers. The Old Lyme Public Library will also be holding a book sale today.
2. The Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is all decked out for the holidays circa 1910, with artistic Christmas trees in the gallery, and holiday teas in the cafe. Special events are held each weekend. Today, there'll be performances until 3 p.m. by Connecticut College's acapella group Co-Co Beaux and every Sunday the museum offers holiday craft workshops for the whole family. Find out more at the museum's web site.
3. If you love bluegrass, then you won't want to miss a performance by Eight Mile River Band tonight at Hadlyme Public Hall, 1 Day Hill Road in Lyme. The band will be playing traditional bluegrass and holiday music from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free and you can bring your own food and beverages.
4. On Sunday, the Roastery at Ashlawn Farm on Bill Hill Road in Lyme will be holding a collection of donations from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to bring some holiday cheer for Staten Island hurricane victims. There will be crafts for children to make holiday ornaments and a collection of ornaments, Christmas lights, and unwrapped toys and gifts for families in need.
Gift bags and gift boxes would also be appreciated, as the plan is to put everything together in "holiday starter kits." There will, of course, be coffee, hot chocolate and plenty of good cheer.
5. Niantic's biggest holiday event happens this Sunday. It is, of course, the 24th annual light parade which will kick off at 5 p.m. with fireworks and go until it stops with Santa arriving last. The festivities start much earlier than that at noon with a chili and chowder cookoff—you buy tickets to taste and then you be the judge!—an ice sculpting demonstration and carriage rides around downtown.
For many locals, this is part of the family's holiday tradition but if you've never been before, dress warmly and prepare to be enchanted by the many decorated vehicles and parade performances. It's really a sight to behold and it's done done by local folks who really get into the spirit of the season.