The 33rd Annual Wassail Weekend in Woodstock, Vermont is coming up and it promises to be the most magical Christmas celebration yet! Activities begin Friday, December 9 and continue through Sunday, December 11.
The festival has its roots in medieval English history. The word “Wassail” comes from the Norse “ves heill”, meaning “to drink to the health”. Hot ale brewed from spiced apples and sugar was given to carolers during the dark days of the winter solstice.
The solstice celebration became interwoven with Christmas in Vermont and the tradition continues in Woodstock to this day. Several inns, including the Woodstock Inn and Resort and the Inn at Clearwater Pond offer Wassail Weekend specials, events and treats.
Friday’s events begin at Billings Farm & Museum where you can tour the 1890’s farmhouse and create your own keepsake ornament. They also offer festive horse-drawn sleigh rides.
To add to the quaint, holiday village feel, the Woodstock Elementary School’s chorus will perform a Christmas concert on the steps of the quaint library at 4:00 P.M.
On Saturday from 9:00 A.M. to 1:30 P.M., experience old New England hospitality by touring Woodstock’s most charming houses, all decked out for the holidays. Docents will be on hand to discuss the history of each home and live music will be performed outside several tour stops.
Don’t miss Saturday evening’s performance of Irish Christmas in America, complete with traditional Irish step dancing.
"Dancing on the Door, Co. Donegal", c.1910. This vintage postcard illustrates the practice of removing the door from its hinges to provide solid flooring for percussive dancing. #ireland #irish #irishdancedress #irishdancingdress #irishdancecostume #dance #dancehistory #irishdance #irishdancing #irishdancer #irishstepdancing #irishstep #iddress #vintageirish #donegal #countydonegal #accordion #tradmusic #traditionalirishmusic #irishtrad
The highlight of the weekend is the 32nd Annual Equestrian Parade on Saturday, December 10 at 2:00 P.M. Horses and riders, adorned in holiday costumes and 19th century period dress parade through beautiful Woodstock Village.
Be sure to grab a viewing spot on the Village Green located in the center of Woodstock – the best location to get the most from the parade.
Santa will ride in the parade as well, waving to the children before heading to the Little Theater for the “Christmas Visions” event.
Other exciting functions include the Lighting of the Christmas Tree and Yule Log and The “Messiah Sing.”
And, of course, don’t forget to try that world-famous Wassail cider!
Featured Image via Instagram/@KPCole