Yuletide in the village at Genesee Country Village and Museum. Photo by Jim Montanus

This holiday season, Genesee Country Village & Museum is taking advantage of its 600-acre campus to create a welcoming respite from the pressures of the past year. From craft markets to Yuletide celebrations, the slower pace of life in the Historic Village and Nature Center lends a feeling of peace and comfort to the festive -but often hectic – season. Watching a cook tend her warm hearth fire or catching the blacksmith working at the forge will calm even the most frazzled holiday-prepper’s nerves. This year, the line-up of events at the Museum includes some visitor favorites as well as some new experiences.

The season of festivities continues November 21 with Preparing for Winter from 10 am-3 pm, a day full of activity as costumed interpreters busily prepare the Village for the colder months with spinning, cooking, and candle-making demonstrations each day. Visitors will see first-hand the labor involved in preparing food for winter, including butchering, smoking meat, and sausage-making. Villagers will also be busy creating handmade gifts for the holidays, and take-home craft kits will be available to purchase for those inspired to do the same. The Museum’s Nature Center staff will put the focus on birds and how they prepare for winter, with games, crafts, and bird house-making demonstrations for the whole family.

The Museum will also welcome special guest story teller Tonia Galban, from the Mohawk Nation Bear Clan, to Preparing for Winter weekend. Tonia will share Native American stories for all ages about the woodland animals and fall nighttime skies. In between stories, this traditional Mohawk basket-maker will weave in some cultural tidbits about her heritage. Tickets for Preparing for Winter will be available at the door, and are $10 for ages 13 and up. GCV&M members and kids 12 and under are free.

In December, GCV&M will put on its best holiday finery for Yuletide Open House and Yuletide Pancake Breakfasts. Yuletide Open House, a COVID-friendly reworking of the popular Yuletide in the Country tours and Holiday Open House, will offer guests multiple weekends to enjoy a relaxed, self-guided visit to the Historic Village in all its winter splendor. Each Saturday and Sunday from December 5th through the 20th, the Village will come alive with a variety of holiday-themed experiences, from historical demonstrations by the Museum’s skilled and knowledgeable interpreters, to charming scenes of holiday traditions brought to life. As guests travel the Village, they’ll encounter the Polish tradition of breaking the oplatki during a Polish Wigilia celebration, hear about Hannukah and the lighting of the menorah, enjoy the intoxicating smells of the cooks working on holiday dishes in various Village kitchens, and much more. In addition, there will be music, artisan demonstrations, and the star of the season, St. Nick, will on hand for a socially-distanced visit. For those wishing to experience the Village decorations by lantern-light, Saturday’s extended hours will be from noon until 6 pm, while Sundays will run from noon until 4 pm. Tickets for Holiday Open House are pre-sale only, no at-the-door tickets will be available, and will be $18 general admission ages 3 and up, $15 for GCV&M members ages 3 and up, and free for ages 2 and under.

The Yuletide Pancake Breakfast is a hearty meal that will be offered every day of Yuletide Open House, with three limited-capacity seatings each day. While they feast on pancakes, sausage and all the trimmings, guests can look out at the gazebo and its giant tree, cheerfully lit for the season. Each child will receive a small gift, and will have the opportunity to post a letter to the North Pole, plus St. Nick will be available to say hello or snap a photo as well. Tickets for Breakfast are $10 for ages 13 and up, $8 for ages 2-12, and free for children 1 and under. Reservations are required and tickets are available now at gcv.org. Note that Breakfast and Open House tickets are separate.

Genesee Country Village & Museum’s Flint Hill Store will be open during all holiday season events for those looking for unique, handmade gifts including pottery handcrafted in the Historic Village. Flint Hill Store hours as well as details for all holiday events are available at www.gcv.org or on the Museum’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @GCVMuseum. This season, Genesee Country Village & Museum will be full of the peace and joy of the holidays without the stress and strain.

©2020 MHFL Sentinel

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