LOWVILLE — The sweet smell of gingerbread and spice that wafts by the front door of the Lewis County Historical Society as soon as it opens to reveal gold-edged angels on evergreen boughs clinches it: you’re Home for the Holidays.

The 17th Home for the Holidays Festival is in full swing with more gingerbread house competition and Festival of Trees donations than ever before.

According to Jerry Perrin, office manager and curator for the Society, 7552 S. State St., there are 22 Christmas trees decorated by residents and businesses around the county available for silent auction bids and almost double the number of gingerbread houses from last year at 23.

“We had to turn down tree decorators this year,” Mr. Perrin said, “There just wasn’t enough space for more.”

Many of the gingerbread houses are made by teams of three or four culinary arts students at the Howard G. Sackett BOCES, Glenfield, as in years past, along with other area residents and one intricate entry by Sister Whetstone, a visitor to the area helping the Historical Society with their genealogy program.

The event’s grand opening was on Nov. 21, but Mr. Perrin said they were “mobbed” on Nov. 23, when the house was packed with people casting their votes for their favorite gingerbread house and putting in their bids at the Festival of Trees.

There is also a room full of silent auction items from Christmas decorations to small appliances, local wines and vintage pieces, among others. Little brown bags for each are set up awaiting bids from event attendees.

The main attraction of the event, according to event organizer and Society board member Carmen Sweet, is often the Lionel train display created by local train enthusiast Jim Randall.

The trains chug through miniatures of the Lewis County Fair, Halloween Town and an elaborate “Christmas in Lowville” scene.

Planning for the fundraising event begins directly after the Halloween Town trick-or-treat fest in October.

“This event along with the concert series are our biggest fundraisers of the year,” Mr. Perrin said, “This usually brings in about $6,000 to go toward our expenses next year.”

During this final weekend of the festival, Santa will be paying a visit to Home for the Holidays and handing out gifts between 6 and 8 p.m. Friday.

At 7:30 p.m. Saturday, the Adirondack Community Chorus will be performing “Angels, Shepherds and Kings,” directed by Peg Nuspliger and a concert version of Gian-Carlo Menotti’s Christmas opera “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” directed by Michael Ferris with accompaniment by Melvin Chalker.

The event opens at 10 a.m. on both Friday and Saturday and closes at 9 and 5 p.m., respectively. People interested in voting for the top four gingerbread houses, bidding in the silent auction or on a Christmas tree or buying raffle tickets can do so until Dec. 9, when the winners will be announced and the many trees will find new homes.

For more information, call the Lewis County Historical Society at 315-376-8957.

The sweet smell of gingerbread and spice that wafts by the front door of the Lewis County Historical Society, 7552 S. State St., Lowville, as soon as it opens clinches it: you’re at the 17th Home for the Holidays festival. The event continues on Friday and Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. each morning, featuring three miniature train displays, the Festival of Trees and a silent auction for many items and raffles. Julie Abbass/Watertown Daily Times

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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