December 21, 2010

"Candlelight Evening" at Old Bethpage

Happy Winter Solstice!

I'm very excited. At the writing of this, I have only two more workdays to go, then I will be off from both of my jobs until January 4th. This is going to be a great end of the year! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you! :) :) :)

On Sunday night, I once again went over to Old Bethpage Village Restoration for their annual holiday tradition of a "Candlelight Evening." Before stepping into Christmas in an 1800s village, I took a few moments to browse around in the Visitor Center. They have several showcases set up to display vintage Christmas posters and decorations. I always love the artwork represented in old advertisements and I got a great kick out of seeing the old light strands. In another room, a series of electric trains was running on an elaborate maze of tracks.

With the full moon casting its silvery light through the bare trees, I walked out into the village. I could immediately hear the sound of fife and drums playing in the distance. All of the paths leading between the buildings were lit by torches and every window glowed with soft incandescence. It was a Hallmark setting to be sure!

Many of the activities revolved around music. As I stepped into the first house, I came across a group of 1800s characters singing carols accompanied by a harp. Along with the fife and drum players that strolled the dirt trails, a brass quartet stopped for a few moments by the tavern to burst into a refrain of "Angels from the Realms of Glory." There were fiddle songs in the one-room school house, choir voices filling the church, and parlor music in the Layton General Store. At the Noon Inn, I grabbed a cup of hot cider before being regaled  by a storyteller beside the bonfire in Village Square.

Then, it was over to Exhibition Hall for a holiday craft fair. Booths were set up selling a variety of things including jewelry, fudge, and handmade Christmas ornaments. In the center of it all, a peppermint-themed tree stood, reaching to the rafters with its frosty glow.

My last stop of the evening was in the auditorium to catch a Magic Lantern Show. I was impressed by the old projection equipment and original glass slides, all hand-painted works of art. This was a form of entertainment that preceded motion pictures. I could imagine groups of people in the 1800s gathering to watch as these colorful images were shown for the first time. It was quite fascinating.

"The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it."

~John 1:5