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Downtown Afton transforms into winter wonderland this weekend

The Afton Village Holiday will be Dec. 5-6 in downtown Afton. The event will feature crafts, carolers, festive shopping, complimentary beverages and food, horse and wagon rides and other holiday activites. (Bulletin file photo)1 / 2
The Afton Village Holiday will be Dec. 5-6 in downtown Afton. The event will feature crafts, carolers, festive shopping, complimentary beverages and food, horse and wagon rides and other holiday activites. (Bulletin file photo)2 / 2

The annual Afton Village Holiday has been described as a snow globe, a Norman Rockwell painting and a winter wonderland.

“With the beautiful snow and the beautiful light, it truly is a magical, winter wonderland,” said Deb Larson of the Afton Area Business Association.

This year’s event will take place Dec. 5-6 in Afton’s downtown village.

As in years past, the event will be split up into Candlelight Night and Family Day.

“What I love about this event is that there’s a night that’s really geared towards adults where they can come, relax, have fun and enjoy the season,” Larson said, “and then we have a day for families.”

Some of Friday night’s activities will include horse and wagon rides – which make five stops throughout the village – strolling carolers, an art exhibit at Old School Art Studio and complimentary beverages and snacks at Afton’s shops.

“It’s such a beautiful, romantic evening,” Larson said.

Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour will also have a holiday boutique where visitors can shop for unique, handmade gifts.

For the first time, Candlelight Night will also feature a tree lighting ceremony in Town Square Park.

At 6 p.m. on Friday, a 30-foot tall pine tree covered in lights will be lit during a ceremony, which will also feature a proclamation from city officials, the carolers and maybe even an appearance by Santa Claus.

“We’ll light the tree and that will be kind of the official kick-off for the event,” Larson said. “It just seemed like a really festive way to kick off the event and bring everyone together and to take a moment and appreciate each other.”

Saturday will bring the families out to Afton for a variety of fun family activities including breakfast and lunch with Santa Claus, carolers, a letters-to-Santa station, holiday crafts, a vintage model train at the Afton Museum and ice skating in Town Square Park. Meanwhile, children can go business to business collecting holiday treats in stockings.

Family Day will also feature three special guests: Costumed characters Anna and Elsa from “Frozen” will be available for photos at Donae Cotton Photography. Eddie the Elf will also make an appearance at Selma’s Ice Cream Parlour.

Afton Village Holiday will also be giving back to the community with three separate charity events both days.

A “mitten tree,” which visitors can hang warm clothes on, will be set-up outside Baglio’s shop and all items will be donated to Valley Outreach in Stillwater.

Baglio’s will also be holding a food drive for Valley Outreach both days.

Over at the Afton House Inn, the Love Your Melon Foundation will be selling hats. For every hat sold, a hat will be donated to a child with cancer.

Larson and co-organizer Raenette Manderfeld-Pung said the Afton Village Holiday is a great start to the holiday season.

“It’s relaxing and old fashioned,” Larson said. “There’s a lot to do the time that you’re here.”

“It brings so many people together for the holiday,” Manderfeld-Pung said. “It instills that whole spirit of the season.”

The Afton Village Holiday will be Dec. 5 from 5-9 p.m. and Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Afton’s Old Village. Visit wwwaftonartfair.com and click on the Village Holiday tab for a full schedule of events.

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

(651) 702-0976
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