Cornucopia of sweets and sounds for Altamont

All aboard for holiday fun: Santa’s arrival by train at Altamont’s Orsini Park at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, will culminate the village’s weekend Victorian Holiday Celebration. Saturday features a Victorian house tour and village stroll from 1 to 4 p.m., and a wine-and-cheese reception at the Masonic Hall at 138 Maple Avenue from 7 to 9 p.m. On Sunday, a Winter Market with local artisans will be held at the old pharmacy on Main Street from noon to 6 p.m., and Father Joe Girzone will sign his Joshua books at the Spinning Room on Main Street from noon to 3 p.m.

Nina Zanetti, 2008 Mountain Dulicmer champion, will play at the Altamont Free Library on Sunday, Dec. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. the free concert is part of the Victorian Holiday Celebration put on annually by Altamont Community Tradition.

A festival of trees and wreath auction, from noon to 4 p.m., will highlight events on Sunday, Dec. 15, for the weekend-long Victorian Holiday Celebration in Altamont. The trees, along with gingerbread houses made by local children, will be on display at the Maple Avenue Masonic Hall. A living Nativity will be held at 4:15 p.m. on Sunday outside of the Altamont reformed church at 129 Lincoln Ave.

ALTAMONT — The Altamont Community Tradition organization will host its 12th annual Victorian Holiday Celebration in the village next weekend, offering house tours, shopping, wine tastings, and a visit from Santa.

Four houses will be open for tours, and visitors will travel between them on a trolley sponsored by State Employees Federal Credit Union, said Judith Dineen, president of ACT. Holiday tourists can also visit the Breitenbach Castle overlooking the village, traveling on a bus sponsored by KeyBank, she said.

Organizers promised residents a surprise, and ACT members announced this week that the Breitenbach Castle, a local venue on Township Road for private events, will be a special part of the tours.

Local bagpipe player John Scally, whose house is on the tour this year, will greet castle visitors, Dineen said.

Tickets for the tours are $10, but children under 10 are free. The tours run from 1 to 4 p.m., with tickets sales available between noon and 3 p.m. at the Masonic Hall at 138 Maple Ave.

Those waiting for the house and castle tours can shop at the Winter Market, a new offering this year in the former pharmacy and art studio at 182 Main Street. The Winter Market will house vendors selling art, crafts, and photography, Dineen said.

“There are more things going on in the village,” she said. “It’s kind of fun…how we’re expanding it this year.”

Sunday’s events include a festival of trees and wreath auction, children’s activities, and a gingerbread house display at the Masonic Hall.

Just down the street, visitors can watch a blacksmith demonstration by Helderberg Blacksmith & Sons and see vintage cars at Altamont Antiques, both at 135 Maple Ave.; attend a wine tasting at Mio Vino from 1 to 3 p.m.; and shop for candies, jam, and teas and enjoy chair massages at Re Nue Spa. The spa is hosting eight vendors during the event, and sponsoring an annual bake sale for animal charities on Sunday, Dineen said.

The American Legion on Altamont Boulevard will offer free chili and warm drinks on Sunday afternoon.

Father Joseph Girzone, who wrote the Joshua book series, will sign copies of his books at the Spinning Room at 190 Main St. from noon to 3 p.m.

Nina Zanetti will play the dulcimer at the Altamont Free Library on Park Street from 2 to 4 p.m. Zanetti was the 2008 Mountain Dulcimer champion, and Sunday’s event will be her first with the Victorian Holiday here.

“Thanks to Dan Dymes of Agway. He is going to take over our dog contest,” Dineen said. Dog and cat owners who wish to dress up their pets in holiday attire can have pictures taken in Agway on Prospect Street.

“Agway is providing prizes,” she said. “It’s kind of fun.”

Dogs can compete at noon, and cats at 1 p.m. Pictures for the pets with Santa will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

At 4:15 p.m., members of the Altamont Reformed Church will present a living Nativity in an outdoor manger at 129 Lincoln Ave.

ACT will light up the village for the main event of the weekend — the arrival of the holiday train and Santa at 5 p.m. While little ones wait to see the big man, they can munch on Christmassy snacks.

“The kettle-corn man will be back at the park,” Dineen said.

Last year, the event drew a record 350 people, she said. This year, the event begins Saturday night at a wine-and-cheese reception for adults only at the Masonic Hall.

“There’s no agenda…networking, talking, visiting,” Dineen said about the reception. She encourages people to attend the free event to meet new acquaintances and rekindle old friendships.

ACT volunteers include 15 board members and a second group, Friends of ACT, Dineen said. The event this year offers many new activities, she said, and most of them are free.

“It’s a lot,” she said. “The new activities offer our attendees more options.”

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