Stockbridge to step back in time for Christmas festivities, Rockwell style

STOCKBRIDGE — The 28th annual "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas" holiday celebration is set for this weekend in Norman Rockwell's adopted hometown.

Organized by the Stockbridge Chamber of Commerce, the three-day "Home for the Holidays" festival aims to capture small-town New England's Christmas spirit through music, readings, house tours, wreaths, twinkle lights and Christmas trees.

The annual "Norman Rockwell Holiday Celebration" extends from this Friday through Sunday with an array of attractions aimed at residents as well as visitors.

Rockwell once called Stockbridge "the best of America, the best of New England," as expressed through his iconic 1948 "Christmas Homecoming" painting and other holiday illustrations on Saturday Evening Post covers depicting local celebrants, according to a chamber announcement.

Among the prime attractions is the holiday house tour from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The self-guided visit to Berkshire Cottages and decorated private homes is "carefully selected to delight and sometimes to even amaze you," said local historian and author Carole Owens.

Other highlights include the Friday evening at 5 readings of classic holiday stories at the Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives and the Saturday morning tales and songs of the season aimed at youngsters, also at the library.

On Saturday, more than 100 carolers will serenade from the Red Lion Inn porch starting at 6 p.m., proceeding through a luminous walkway to the First Congregational Church where The Berkshire Lyric performs its annual Christmas concert, which is already sold out.

On Sunday, the town reprises the spirit of Rockwell's famous holiday scene, "Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas," from noon to 2 p.m. The original 1967 painting hangs in the Norman Rockwell Museum off Route 183 (Glendale Road).

Although the painting depicts only 16 cars, the actual event features more than 50 vintage vehicles as Main Street is closed to traffic. A Christmas tree fills the oversized window of what was once Rockwell's second-floor studio.

Roger the Jester performs on one end of the street while horse-drawn rides and visits with Santa are available at the other end.

Monument Mountain Regional High School students perform music of the season at St. Paul's Church while the Londontown Carolers sing on the front porch of the Red Lion Inn. Children can enjoy treats from the Pocket Lady and holiday art at Santa's Workshop offered by the Norman Rockwell Museum.

The weekend events are sponsored by The Red Lion Inn and 37 Interlaken Road Project.


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