A spirited celebration of Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas
STOCKBRIDGE -- Lauren Zazzaro couldn't help but laugh at the elf-clad entertainer juggling and playing a small accordion.
The 8-year-old reveled in the antics of Roger the Jester dressed as one of Santa's helpers on Main Street in Stockbridge.
"He was funny," she said.
Lauren, her parents and twin 5-year-old brothers, all of Stillwater, N.Y., are regular summer visitors to Stockbridge, but on Sunday they were attending their first Main Street at Christmas event.
The Zazzaros were among the hundreds of first-timers and return visitors put in the Christmas spirit by the town recreating the famous Norman Rockwell painting, "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas." The iconic art work depicts a snow-covered Main Street from the library to the Red Lion Inn decorated for the holiday season.
From carolers on the front porch of the historic inn to classic cars parked on the street, Rockwell's 1967 illustration came to life, much to the delight of Lauren's mother.
"We love Norman Rockwell and to see the painting re-enacted is a good way to kick off the season," said Diane Zazzaro.
The two-hour re-enactment also included horse-drawn carriage and wagon rides along with children getting to visit and take a picture with Santa Claus.
The celebration actually began Saturday with a variety of special events, which included a pair of craft fairs and a tour of historic homes in the downtown.
Since Main Street at Christmas debuted in 1990, visiting Stockbridge on the first weekend in December has been a must trip for many visitors from throughout the Northeast.
Ed and Laurie Giannelli, of Smithtown, N.Y., have made the jaunt north for the past 16 Decembers.
"This is a our favorite trip of the year," Ed Giannelli said.
Laurie chimed in saying, "If we could have only one vacation, this would be it."
The Long Island couple was among the 275 guests who filled the 125 rooms of the Red Lion Inn and its surrounding guest houses for the weekend, according to innkeeper Michele Kotek.
"This particular weekend books almost a year in advance," Kotek said. "We already have people making reservations for next year."
Joan Tedesco, of Newtown, Conn., has visited Stockbridge in December for 34 years -- long before the celebratory weekend -- to reacquaint with old friends and make new ones.
"I love the atmosphere," she said. "We exchange hugs and kisses as we are glad to see each other."
To reach Dick Lindsay:
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