COUNTRY STORE COMMITTEE CO-CHAIRS Karen Nascembeni and Steven Richard were smiling from ear-to-ear after seeing Santa Claus again at the 2019 Country Store. This year’s event will be dedicated in Steven’s memory as well as his parents, Edie and Earl, who were involved with the fundraiser for a number of years. (Courtesy Photo)
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
The town will be ushering in the holiday season in style on Saturday, Dec. 4 when Lynnfield Recreation holds its highly anticipated Tree Lighting Ceremony and the Historical Commission brings back the popular Country Store to the Meeting House.
In addition to the two in-person events, Lynnfield Recreation is also hosting its fourth annual Light Up Lynnfield Contest and the 18th annual Gingerbread House Contest. Townspeople will be able to drive around town in order to view the Light Up Lynnfield Contest participants’ homes due to trolleys not being available this year. The Gingerbread House Contest will be virtual once again.
Lynnfield Recreation was forced to hold virtual holiday celebrations last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Country Store was last held in December 2019 due to the pandemic.
Country Store Committee Chairwoman Karen Nascembeni said this year’s event will be dedicated to her late husband and in-laws. Historical Commission member Steven Richard and his father Earl passed away from COVID-19 in March 2020. Steven’s mother Edie passed away in December 2017.
“We are so thrilled at the outpouring of support for this year’s Country Store,” said Nascembeni. “So many groups in town have asked to be involved. My late husband, Steven Richard, and I co-chaired the Country Store together for years. It was one of our favorite traditions. Steven’s parents, Edie and Earl, were involved with the Country Store for decades. It is in their memory that we lovingly present this year’s event.”
The Country Store will be held under the Historical Commission’s stewardship for the first time this year. Similar to previous years, the event’s proceeds will be used to help maintain the Meeting House.
Nascembeni said the Country Store will open its doors to the public at 9 a.m. and will run through the Tree Lighting Ceremony on Saturday. Due to the Board of Health’s mandate, Country Store attendees and vendors will be required to wear masks inside the Meeting House because it is a town-owned building.
Townspeople will have the opportunity to purchase seasonal wreaths and swags at the Country Store. A variety of food will also be sold, including Vermont cheddar cheese, ham and bean dinners, HealthyNut snacks and Candarellas baked goods. Mrs. Claus’ Snacks and Lunch Kitchen will also returning this year and residents will have the opportunity to purchase jam, jelly and popcorn.
Additionally, the Village Home and Garden Club will be selling evergreen arrangements, and the Centre Club will be hosting its Lottery Contest. The Country Store is also welcoming back its penny candy store. The North Pole Fishing Hole, a popular activity for children, will also be back.
The Voices of Hope chorus will be making its debut performance at the Meeting House when the group sings carols at 10 a.m. Santa Claus will once again be arriving from the North Pole via Lynnfield fire engine at 10:45 a.m.
Nascembeni also noted that the Country Store is welcoming several new vendors this year. The Priestley family will be selling artificial wreaths and the Friends of the Lynnfield Library will be selling a large selection of Christmas books. Lynnfield for Love will be running an ornament decorating station as well.
“Children will have the opportunity to decorate ornaments that will be given to families in need,” said Nascembeni.
Nascembeni urged townspeople to attend this year’s Country Store.
“We’ll have all the traditional vendors our supporters have grown to love and look forward to seeing as well as some new vendors that will bring new life to this year’s event,” said Nascembeni. “It will be good for my soul to see the 1714 Meeting House full of holiday spirit again.”
Tree Lighting Ceremony
In addition to the Historical Commission’s Country Store, Lynnfield Recreation will be holding its first in-person Tree Lighting Ceremony since December 2019.
“We are excited to have the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony festivities back on the Common this year,” said Lynnfield Recreation Director Julie Mallett.
Recreation Commission Chairman Rich Sjoberg agreed.
“We are looking forward to bringing the community together when we hold the in-person Tree Lighting Ceremony on the Town Common once again,” said Sjoberg.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony will begin at 3 p.m. when Santa makes his second appearance in town and refreshments are served. Photographers from Priestley’s Fine Art Photography will be taking complimentary pictures of children with Santa. Parents can bring their own cameras as well.
“We are looking forward to Santa’s arrival courtesy of the Lynnfield Fire Department,” said Sjoberg.
The community sing-a-long, which will be led by Lynnfield Girl Scouts and the Lynnfield High School Tri-M Music Honor Society, will take place at 4:30 p.m.
“The Girl Scouts and the Tri-M Music Honor Society singing is always the best part of this annual tradition,” said Sjoberg.
Mallett said the Tree Lighting Ceremony will “wrap up with a few words from a Select Board member before the countdown to the lighting of the trees at 4:45 p.m.”
Sjoberg thanked Town Administrator Rob Dolan and the DPW for supporting the Tree Lighting Ceremony and providing logistical support to Lynnfield Recreation.
“It’s because of their continued partnership that makes this day possible for all of the families in Lynnfield,” said Sjoberg.
Lynnfield Recreation is also hosting its fourth annual Light Up Lynnfield Contest and 18th annual Gingerbread House.
The deadline for residents to sign up for Light Up Lynnfield was Monday, Nov. 29. There are four categories this year: Clark W. Griswold, Creative Use of Lights, Misfit Toys and Neighborhood Participation. The Recreation Commission will be judging the four categories. Townspeople will have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award through Monday, Dec. 6.
“We were not able to get trolleys for Light Up Lynnfield, but we will have maps available so people can do their own self-guided tours,” said Mallett.
The deadline for residents to sign up for Lynnfield Recreation’s virtual Gingerbread House Contest is Wednesday, Dec. 1. Awards will be judged on the following categories:
- Best Family
- Best Child/Children under 8
- Best Child and/or Children over 8/Best Adult
- Best Holiday Spirit
- Most Pioneer Pride
- Viewer’s Choice Award (which will be decided by online vote)
“I will be setting up a website where people can vote for their favorite gingerbread house as well as their favorite Light Up Lynnfield display,” said Mallett.