Janesville55.4°

Christmas event is step back in time

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Kayla Bunge
December 5, 2007
— The hushed magic of downtown Sharon’s historic streets beckons.

The sound of traditional carols and the smell of roasted chestnuts fill the air, summoning the quiet village to relive a time when Christmas was celebrated in style.


A Victorian Christmas Evening, the annual event sponsored by the Sharon Main Street Association, is a night to revive the old-world traditions that built the village more than 150 years ago.


Karen Kenney, Sharon Main Street director, said the atmosphere is right off the pages of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”—one steeped in history.


“We’ve held onto that moment in time,” she said, “and so many little towns have grown up to be so big. We have held onto that, and people are looking for that in these busy times.”


Kenney said the Victorian era—complete with lavish clothing, romantic horse-and-carriage transportation and grand music—“creates a special feeling in the heart.”


Visitors will be greeted by townspeople in period dress strolling the streets. Carolers, minstrels and dancers will perform the music and dance of the era. Peasants and peddlers will hawk food and crafts. Newsboys will be on hand with programs detailing the evening’s events.


A Victorian Christmas Evening began in 1995 as a vision of the Main Street Association. The organization was searching for a unique way to highlight the village’s history and hearken back to a simpler time. About 400 people attended at the start.


But the event grew—more food, more entertainment, more history. And with that came more people; anywhere from about 1,200 to 2,000 people attend each year.


Kenney said visitors can take in the atmosphere of the evening—and the Victorian era—with all their senses.


“You live a piece of history when you come that night,” she said.


IF YOU GO

What: A Victorian Christmas Evening


Where: Downtown Sharon


When: 6 to 9 p.m. Friday


Attire: Dress warm because the entire event is outside


Entertainment: Carolers, minstrels and dancers; dulcimer player; magician; dog sled demonstrations


Food: Five eat-in restaurants; street vendors with roasted chestnuts, cinnamon fried bread, kettle corn, cinnamon roasted nuts, homemade fudge and candies, plum pudding; soup wagon


Special attractions: Shoppes, horse-drawn carriage rides, photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus


Main events: 6:15 p.m.—Fireworks, village tree lighting ceremony and gazebo dedication. 8 p.m.—Lighted horse-drawn carriage parade.



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