The 30th Annual Chelsea Hometown Holiday, presented by Golling Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Chelsea, will take place December 2, 3 and 4 in downtown Chelsea (14 miles west of Ann Arbor). The historic City of Chelsea will be decked in holiday splendor to warm the hearts of visitors and to get the community in the holiday spirit.
Santa makes a special appearance when he arrives at Pierce Park in the Chelsea Area Fire Authority ladder truck at 6 p.m. on Friday for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. A new 24-foot tall Frasier Fir tree was planted earlier this year, thanks to the efforts of Girl Scout Troops 41097 and 42810 who raised over $1,000 to purchase the new honorary tree.
“After the tree was planted, the girls coordinated with the City of Chelsea, the Rotary Club and Holiday Light Express to decorate the tree. The tree lighting ceremony will truly be the culmination of the community working together, we are very excited to see the tree light up,” said Girl Scout leader Anita Mosier.
Next, Santa heads to the Chelsea Historic Depot where he will spend the evening listening to special wishes from Chelsea’s children during Santa’s Workshop. The Chelsea Children’s Co-op Preschool sponsors free craft projects for the children and parents are encouraged to bring their camera.
Across from the depot, Chelsea Farmer’s Supply welcomes the community for Christmas story-telling led by Chelsea District Library from 6:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. Next door, at the Chelsea Area Historical Museum, explore five newly renovated museum rooms and exhibits showcasing vintage holiday decor.
Chelsea ATA Martial Arts offers children a chance to decorate sugar cookies from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at their studio located 420 North Main St, suite 300. ATA Martial Arts instructors and students will be performing board-breaking demonstrations throughout the event.
Also on Friday, stop by the Chelsea District Library from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and listen to the musical group, Common Chords. The heartwarming holiday performance by the hand bell choir is accompanied by light refreshments.
Throughout Saturday, holiday festivities continue with various events planned in Chelsea’s shops. Look for “Lights Up & Shop Local” signs for holiday bargains, unique treasures and giveaways. Business event details can be found in the community calendar at www.chelseamich.com.
Saturday morning, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., you are invited to bring the children to Breakfast with Santa at Chelsea Comfort Inn and Village Conference Center, sponsored by Lake Trust Credit Union. Children enjoy a free pancake breakfast and a chance to sit with Santa. Parents are encouraged to bring their cameras to capture special moments.
Later in the day, the Pam Radcliffe Gingerbread House Workshop holds two decorating sessions at 11 a.m. to noon, and again at noon to 1 p.m. at First Congregational Church, 121 East Middle Street. Families work together to decorate a gingerbread house for the holidays. Only 100 houses are available, and must be reserved by calling the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce at (734) 475-1145. Sponsored by Bill Ballagh, State Farm Insurance Agent.
Returning this year, Chelsea Area Historical Society invites visitors to join a docent led walking tour of several historic starting at their new museum located at 128 Jackson Street. Tour tickets are $20 per person or $17 for museum members, and are available in advance at the museum or The Garden Mill or online at www.ChelseaHistory.org. Proceeds benefit Chelsea Area Historical Society.
The Chelsea First United Methodist Church hosts the Material Girls Christmas Bazaar from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Children ages 4 years through 6th grade can shop for the holiday from thousands of affordable items priced one to five dollars. In addition to Saturday’s appointments, an early shopping session of the bazaar will be offered on December 1st for children who would benefit from a quieter shopping experience. Limited appointments are available on both days and children must register in advance at www.chelseafestivals.com.
For tweens ages 10 to 17, the Chelsea District Library presents a craft workshop from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, where registered participants can make and wrap a personalized gift. Registration is required; call (734) 475-8732 for details.
Also Saturday, St. Barnabas hosts the 3rd annual Quilt Show and Sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the Church of Latter-day Saints showcase creche displays (nativity scenes) from around the world from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday evening the 12th Anniversary Holiday Light Parade begins at 6 p.m. with fabulous lighted floats and marching units. The parade will have the same route this year, starting at Chelsea State Bank’s south lot on the corner of US 12 and Main Street, and travels north along Main Street to Jackson Street. The parade will not cross to the north side of the railroad tracks this year.
Immediately following the parade, the community is invited to a “Lights Out” celebration in the Clocktower Commons. Live music, s’mores and hot chocolate will be provided by Main Street Church.
On Sunday, December 4th, Chelsea Chamber Players present free performances at the First United Methodist Church at 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The special holiday performance features “Magnificat” by Kim Andre Arnesen, “Little Suite for Strings, Op 1” by Carl Nielsen and a Christmas Carol sing-a-long. Presented by the Chelsea Chamber Players along with students from the Chelsea High School Orchestra (Jed Fritzemeier, Conductor), the Chelsea High School Choirs (Steve Hinz, Conductor) and Chelsea FUMC Chancel Choir (Mark Loring, Conductor). Please call the church at 734-475-8119 for more information.
Along with creche displays from around the world, the Church of Latter-day Saints presents two brief musical programs on Sunday, December 4th at 2 p.m and again at 5 p.m. The performances will feature classical and traditional Christmas music and showcase Tenor Stanford Olsen, professor of voice at the University of Michigan.
Also, the weekend brings The Nutcracker Ballet performed by Ballet Chelsea (formerly Youth Dance Theatre) at Chelsea High on December 3rd at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and again on December 4th at 2 p.m. On Sunday, the SugarPlum Tea is a festive event that takes place at 12:30 p.m. Guests are invited to dress for the occasion, for ticket information visit www.balletchelsea.org.
Hometown Holiday also helps collect gifts for local children in need through its annual toy drive, Toys for Tots and Teens. Donations of new, unwrapped toys can be dropped off at Palmer Auto Service through December 16. The donations are then distributed locally through Faith In Action.
Chelsea, Michigan is conveniently located off Interstate-94 at exit #159 and offers many charms of a small-town with big city sophistication. You will enjoy award winning restaurants and various shops which provide everything from handmade, one-of-a-kind jewelry to antique home furnishings to unique clothing boutiques. You can catch the holiday spirit with a stop at one of the area tree farms and take in the festivities throughout the weekend. For a complete schedule of events, phone the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce (734) 475-1145 or visit www.chelseamich.com.