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Christmas in Collinsville Will Feature Santa, Horse-Drawn Carriage Rides, Tree Lighting and Much More

Event, set for Dec. 7 and 8, continues to grow.

With a tree lighting, visits from Santa, puppet show, horse-drawn carriage rides and a Friday night Champagne walk, there are festivities for the whole family at this weekend’s Christmas in Collinsville.

The event has really taken off since 2007, Collinsville Merchants organizer Kathy Taylor said. The idea was to keep the momentum going a year after festivities were held for Canton’s bicentennial and to emulate a similar event in Riverton. It began with a champagne walk, a Santa visit and puppet show. Now there are more than 20 events over the two days, Friday

“It’s obviously grown a lot,” Taylor said.

This year a record 19 merchants are involved in the Friday night champagne walk, in which participants purchase a glass and enjoy food and beverages at the businesses. Newer business participants include Collinsville Canoe and Kayak, ABC Pizza, and the Ralph Dowd Agency.

Participants can purchase an engraved glass for $15 or get bring their own glass and buy “Champagne Flute Ring” for $10.

The glass sales largely fund Christmas in Collinsville, which costs about $5,000 a year due to features like the horse-drawn carriage rides, supplies and expenses. Last year, organizes sold all 500 glasses that were available and will have more on hand this year. Merchants also must cover their own expenses. 

Aware of general concerns, merchants have been advised to pour small amounts of alcohol for participants and some offer non-alcoholic beverages, organizers said.

Glasses are currently available at several local businesses, including Blumen Laden and Carol and Company. 

Taylor said there are so many great additions to the weekend and mentions the horse-drawn carriages and puppet shows as two of her favorite events.

She said the tea light luminaries, put out by Twin Gardens and Landscaping add great atmosphere. The Canton Historical Museum's Gallery of Trees, in its fourth year, also adds a nice element, she said. 

This year, carolers from the Collinsville Congregational Church will also stroll through the area, Taylor said. 

For the second year, the town’s annual tree lighting, an event that used to be held at the gazebo at Dowd Avenue and Route 44, will also be held in Collinsville Friday night. 

Parks and Recreation Director Brian Wilson said he and the parks commission were happy with the response last year and felt it would be good to do it again. Collinsville is much more pedestrian friendly than the town green location, he said. 

"It made a lot of sense to contribute to the festivities in Collinsville," he said. 

As part of that, Santa will be in the Town Hall auditorium from 6 to 7 p.m. Friday and the tree lighting will take place in front of Canton Historical Museum at 7:30 p.m. 

Events take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Saturday. See the attached pdf documents for a complete schedule and maps. In addition, many business owners will offer special events on their own. 

For more information, visit http://www.visitcollinsville.com/visitcollinsville_004.htm

Diane December 06, 2012 at 02:04 PM
PARENTS BEWARE: this is not a family friendly night. Last year we attended this event. As we went around with our children, one as young as six, we encountered inebriated individuals and crowds of them everywhere. It was hard to get from one event to another and enjoy the Collinsville attractions. Santa is set up in the Town Hall. But how do you get to the tree lighting without going through (and having to explain to your kids) the drunks? I have lived in Canton all my life. This does not show the town at it's best. The horse drawn carriage was fun, the face painting was too. But we will not attend this year. It is sad that alcohol has to be tied in with this event! We talked to many families and they said the same thing....too bad.
JEFF DILL December 06, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Hi Diane. Thank you for the feedback. We were unable to attend last year and I was hoping to try to make it this year. Sounds like the Town is looking to grow this event, with the addition of non-alcoholic option and smaller samples, sounds at least like a partial fix. Possibly a small police presence is required? Its strange. The champagne is such a different idea, it attracted me to the event and now it is the thing making some stay away. How much booze are they giving out? I had assumed it was just one glass.
John Fitts (Editor) December 06, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Folks I was unable to attend last year so can not directly comment on this issue but please note that most of the happenings, including the champagne walk, are not town of Canton events.
Diane December 06, 2012 at 05:38 PM
How this works is you buy a beautiful champagne flute. You go around to the 19 (according to the article) merchants were they fill (even a half glass) of the champagne and your on your way. This is a lot of fun if your an adult without kids. I can see why people like it. The problem is they have also put this with the tree lighting and Santa,which do not mix well. As to how much booze they give out, think a half a glass of champane, 19 merchants, from 6-7:30 pm. That's eight glasses in a one and a half hour time period! Oh my!
Wyatt December 06, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Lighten up.
John Fitts (Editor) December 06, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Jeff. I’ve confirmed with the police chief that organizers have hired an officer for the event. That is fairly typical.
Donna Carney December 06, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Please Diane there isn't that much champagne poured, and we can't help if people show up already drinking. it is wonderful a family outting. I have lived in Canton almost my entire life and think it is a wonderful idea. You can take your children anywhere and experience adults out of hand, don't blame the whole event on this experience. These people work every hard to make this work, if you have the tree lighing on rt 44 it is harder with all the traffic. Give it another try go to the town hall for santa and come out the door on main st. to the tree lighting and enjoy a free cup of coco from the Canton Lions Club or Boyscouts troop 177 then stroll in the museum and look at the trees and trains. I wish you all a wonderful safe night I would not miss it for the world. Henry J. Bahre and the Canton Lions worked hard to make sure books would be given to the kids from santa.....It is so worth an evening out, enjoy this beauitful Town it is our home.
Melissakelly Osden December 07, 2012 at 02:32 AM
Diane I went last year and I didn't see anything that you are saying. In fact I know first hand that lots of people didn't get anything after they waited in long lines cause they ran out of alcohol and these people paid 15$ for their glass and got nothing... If your so afraid for your kids to be around DRUNKS as you put it then why take them anywhere???? Their is Alcohol @ the jamboree,the lobster fest, sam collins day and their was a lot of it @ the Halloween Parade... So don't judge this event cause they have ALCOHOL...I think that this an amazing thing that the tows doing for the people in it.....
Diane December 07, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I am sorry to offend those above. I have, as I said, lived in Canton all my life. Hence I have been to the lobster fest, Jamboree, Sam Collins day and such. We are raising our children here. I have been to all the tree lightings too on the green (which was always so much fun, sorry to see the big tree unlit). I am not a prude. All I am saying is that it is poor planning to have a pub crawl (champagne walk) which is truly geared to adults and the "kid stuff" of Santa and the lighting of the tree on the same night. And by the way, It was not fun having to answer my kids questions as to why the stumbling people around us were as they were. There were many who just had too much to drink and ruined it for some. Other families agreed. Not just us. As I said, too bad.
John Fitts (Editor) December 07, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Diane - I certainly don’t think you said anything offensive. We welcome all perspectives and each family can make their own decisions about the event in its current format.
Tim December 10, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Diane, I really have no idea why you posted nor what you are trying to accomplish. Everyone I spoke to, families with children included, had a wonderful time last year. Just because you had a bad experience doesn't mean everyone else with families did. The champagne walk is well publicized so you should not be surprised alcohol was being served. You could go to any "family" restaurant or any other public event that served drinks for that matter and you will always have the possibility of coming across things that might offend you and your children. Sounds like West Farms Mall would have been a more appropriate place to visit Santa? Although you might be offended by the language, nose rings, and pants that don't cover the guys underwear.

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