WATERVILLE — Haddie Bickford, 5, and her brother, Eli, 3, climbed into chairs Saturday at Holy Cannoli downtown as baker Beth Lefferts placed sugar cookies spread with green frosting before them on the table.

With help from their mother, Rebecca Deschaine, the children spooned colorful sprinkles shaped like candy canes, snowmen and snowflakes onto the cookies to decorate them.

“Mom, I want a little more,” Eli said.

“How about one of the mini-marshmallows?” Deschaine suggested.

The boy nodded approval.

Across the table, Brad Poulin, 5, of Winslow, was decorating a gingerbread man cookie covered with yellow frosting by placing tiny candy snowmen on it. Earlier, he had decorated cookies with his sister, Sydney, 2, who decorated a snowflake-shaped cookie, and their mother, Kate Poulin.

“I thought it was going to be fun, and it is fun,” he said.

They were at Holy Cannoli on Saturday as part of Joy to the Ville activities, hosted by Waterville Creates!

The free, all-day community event, designed to celebrate the magic of the holiday season, included visits with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus at Kringleville, story time at the Children’s Book Cellar, story time and card-making at Waterville Public Library, a screening of the movie “Elf,” a live performance of the musical “Annie” at the Waterville Opera House and quilted card and ornament making at Common Street Arts. Colby College Museum of Art’s Bernard Langlais-inspired snow globe-making also was featured at Common Street Arts.

Free hot chocolate for children and cappucino for adults were served up at Italia Market and Restaurant, Loyal Biscuit Co. downtown had pet holiday eggnog from the Honest Kitchen for dogs visiting the store, Selah Tea featured free tea tastings, holiday drinks and treats, The Framemakers hosted free holiday ornament making and Aroma Joe’s on Kennedy Memorial Drive gave out free milk moustaches with 16-ounce holiday drinks. Children were invited to dress up for a free green-screen winter photo at the opera house.

Jorgensen’s Cafe offered free cookies for children, Downtown Home Decor offered discounts on merchandise, Madlyn’s New & Used Consignment Shop hosted a $1 sale, and Christopher Hastings Confections gave out free candy to children. Camden National Bank doled out free popcorn and hot chocolate.

The opera house, the Maine Film Center, the library, Colby College and the Children’s Discovery Museum helped organize the day’s activities.

In the Common Street Arts arts classroom and gallery space at The Center, Inland Hospital hosted a free Let’s Go Family Fun Series — Healthy Holiday Activities event in which children got to make figures and characters out of fruits and vegetables.

The Bickford children made snowmen, candy canes and other figures, with Haddie crafting a candy cane by alternately placing pieces of banana and strawberry on a toothpick. Then she plopped her creation into her mouth.

Eli made a Santa Claus figure by using pieces of banana and strawberry and topping it with a tiny marshmallow. After consuming that, minus the toothpick, of course, he pressed a tiny marshmallow on the tip of a toothpick, waved it like a hammer and then ate it. Deschaine, their mother, said she was enjoying the activity with her children.

“I think it makes healthy eating a lot more fun,” she said.

Baylee Doughty, community health program coordinator for Inland, whose primary focus is the Let’s Go! series, said the activity was a fun and creative one for children, and a way to help make fruits and vegetables appealing to them.

“They love it,” she said.

Serena Sanborn, Waterville Creates! education and outreach coordinator who helped organize the event, said a reception would be held at 1 p.m. to honor 12 winners of a winter banner art contest. The children used various media such as colored pencils and markers to draw colorful winter scenes that included a snowy owl, reindeer, snowmen and other figures, and their works were transferred onto huge canvas banners that were hung downtown. Each winner was to receive a banner to take home, Sanborn said.

With all the activities happening in the city for children, Sanborn said a friend of hers with children told her she no longer has to travel to Portland to find things for them to do.

In the gallery space at Common Street Arts, a pop-up store with pottery, wood crafts, jewelry and other gifts were on display and fresh holiday wreaths and garlands were featured for sale.

Nate Towne, marketing manager for Waterville Creates!, said the day was going well. Like Sanborn, Towne said many people are drawn to all the activities and events happening in Waterville.

“You don’t have to go to the coast or the big city to have fun,” he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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