I have served the last of the turkey soup, polished off the pecan pie, and fought my kids to scarf the final serving of stuffing so Thanksgiving is officially over and it’s time for the holiday decorations to come out. In Woods Hole, that also means it’s time for the Renaissance Fair, a wonderful 30+ year tradition of gathering, shopping and feasting at the Woods Hole Community Hall.
Imagine a wreath-making shop with hand-made garlands and wreaths, a “tea house” with sweets and cookies of all kinds, plus plenty of hot tea and cocoa, the Community Hall (our local secular gathering place) decorated and packed with craft vendors selling all sorts of original items from beaded jewelry to stained glass, from sock monkeys to hand knit sweaters, from local photography to letterpress books and journals with covers from old maps.
This wonderfully eclectic collection is topped off by a visit from the “Solstice Singers,” a local choral group that will appear in Renaissance garb carrying a large stuffed pig on a platter. I often wonder whose basement that paper mache pig lives in all year long, as he looks a bit worse for the wear with a few chunks missing, but the overall effect with the sun coming in sideways through the Hall’s windows and the good cheer in the room, plus the lovely voices of the singers brings a lump to the most cynical throat.
It has been a rough month for the Woods Hole community, as we lost a young man who grew up here and died in a car crash on our main road a few weeks ago. People in this community came together to cradle his parents and siblings with love, helped fashion a pine box for him, crowded his funeral at the Church of the Messiah, passed a loaf of challah large enough for everyone lovingly made by his friends, the bakers at Pie in the Sky.
His mother has long been one of the organizers of the Renaissance Fair, and I can not help but think that this year will be especially poignant as we gather to kick off the holidays with hot cider, neighborly smiles and good cheer. The fabric of a small town is rendered with these interactions, and it is as important to celebrate the winter solstice as it is to mourn a terrible loss.
Long Live the Renaissance Fair!
December 1st from 10 to 3 in Woods Hole. Ample nearby parking.
All invited, free to enter.