NORRIDGEWOCK — It was raining outside but the old Somerset Grange No. 18 hall exuded warmth inside as children decorated sugar cookies and created Christmas tree ornaments while their parents watched and listened to the strains of “White Christmas.”

The downtown Holiday Stroll & Tree Lighting event hosted by the town went on as planned at 1 p.m. Saturday, despite a day that started with freezing rain and slippery roads.

“It’s going really good,” said Valarie Trial, as she helped children decorate cookies at the Franklin Savings Bank and Bangor Savings Bank table.

Dressed in a red Santa hat, white snowman apron and a blinking tree light necklace, Trial, a member of the Norridgewock Parks Committee, said people were happy to be celebrating the holidays after last season’s COVID-19 shutdown.

Matt Everett, dressed as the Grinch, lurks along Route 201 in downtown Norridgewock Saturday ahead of the Holiday Stroll. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“It’s nice to have that Christmas feeling just come back — be back in the town,” she said. “I think it’s good for the kids.”

Emerson Chase, 8, and her brother, Weston, 5, visited the hall with their parents, Glen and Mary.


“We decorated cookies and we made an ornament and got our hands painted,” Emerson said.

A third grader at Mill Stream Elementary School in Norridgewock, she and her brother, a kindergartner, also made reindeer food.

“I had an ornament and a star and a snowflake,” Weston said, producing his painted hands.

Glen Chase, a teacher at Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield, said the day was fun “despite the Grinch weather.”

Mary Chase, who teaches at Skowhegan Area High School, also was enjoying the events.

Santa Claus offers a candy cane to Weston Chase, 5, during the Holiday Stroll tractor parade Saturday in Norridgewock. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“At this age, kids get so excited,” she said. “They’ve been talking it up at school and some of the teachers and others are volunteering. We’re glad that we’re able to come over and share in the excitement, the excitement of Christmas.”


Across the room, children were crafting tree ornaments from soup can lids painted red, green and yellow, applying stickers and little sparkly snowflakes and trees and attaching colorful feathers. Grange Secretary Helen Balgooyen, wearing a colorful joker cap with tiny bells, and Dorothy Beeuwkes, helped the children.

Adjacent to the hall, built in 1866, the Norridgewock Historical Society also was busy as people of all ages strolled in and out.

“It’s nice — a lot of young families are coming in and I’ve met new people in town,” said society President Becky Ketchum, who was on hand with Society member Ruth Keister.

A table featuring candles, homemade whoopie pies, cookies and coffee added to the ambiance of the large room where visitors were welcomed just inside the door. Two Christmas trees, one Ketchum had adorned with bird ornaments and the other with classical ornaments, also wowed guests.

Matt Everett, dressed as the Grinch, lurks along Route 201 in downtown Norridgewock Saturday ahead of the Holiday Stroll. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

“A lot of people have never been into this building,” Ketchum said. “People are glad to be out. There hasn’t been a lot of socialization.”

The Grinch, wearing bright green pants and a red coat, pranced down the road, greeting people. At Everett’s Tire Warehouse on Main Street, an old green Chevrolet pickup truck with a lighted Christmas tree in its bed was parked next to a sleigh and a mailbox for accepting letters to Santa Claus.

Across the street in the Alice E. Emery Town Square, Ken and Brenda Morgan of Morgan Aviation and Kennebec Seaplanes were standing under a tent by a fire pit, offering lollypops, marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers to people of all ages. “White Christmas” was blaring from a vehicle parked nearby.

“We’re roasting marshmallows and making s’mores,” Brenda Morgan said.

A home and business decorating contest sponsored by Skowhegan Savings Bank, a lighted tractor parade and tree lighting at the square also were part of afternoon activities.

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