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Beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday and continuing until 7 in the evening, the Village of Bement is looking to make the holiday season a bit more festive, cheerful, and beautiful.
On that last adjective, the Dec. 1 Christmas in Bement will feature 500 luminaries lighting Veterans Park after dark, while the Bryant Cottage State Historic Site will feature period decorations from the 1800’s. Southeast of town attendees can view a home that will boast 150 holiday miniature North Pole houses as part of a Relay for Life fund-raiser.
“It never gets old. It’s exciting,” said Tabitha Elder of the Bement Area Chamber of Commerce, which teams with the Community Council and Bryant House to put on the holiday event each year.
“We look at it as an opportunity to partner with the Community Council with what was going on already with the (1 p.m.) parade, and with Marilyn (Ayers of the Bryant House) with her open house. It just made sense to do whatever we could do to add a little more Christmas cheer,” added Elder.
The event kicks off this year at 7 a.m. with a pancake and sausage breakfast at the Bement United Methodist Church, continues with a 30-business “Vendor Blender” at Bement schools from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Christmas Tea and Story Reading at the Bryant House, the 1 p.m. Parade, the luminaria displays after 5 p.m., and the Bryant House annual open house from 5 to 7 p.m.
Christmas in the Country
New this year is a different kind of house walk. It features just one home – at 746 North, 1225 East Road, but spectators will view about 150 collectible houses throughout the home and other structures on the property.
Janet Jennings, organizer of the house walk, said the house and most of the collectibles belong to her sister-in-law GloAnn Walsh, who has been working overtime to get things set up.
“It’s beautiful,” said Jennings. “It’s been a lot of work for her, but she makes it look so good. It’s really something to look at.”
There will also be a bake sale and craft items for sale, as well as gift-wrapping services. There is a small charge to take part in the house walk, and proceeds go to the Ray of Hope Relay for Life Team to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society.
The house walk will also be open Sunday (Dec. 9) from 12:30 to 4 p.m.
The Bryant House has been holding its holiday open house for three decades, and this year will include Christmas Tea and Story Reading for children at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30, 4:30 and 6 p.m. A $5 donation requested, which goes to the historic site. Reservations are also needed and can be made by calling 678-8184.
The home will be decorated for the holidays, and Christmas Tea participants will gather in the formal dining room for treats, drinks, and a story.
Open House hours at the Bryant House – constructed in 1856 – are 5 to 7 p.m. During that time, spectators can tour the site that is thought to have been where Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas planned their famous series of debates. There will also be horse-drawn carriage rides which will offer views of the 500-plus luminaries sponsored by the Bement Community Council and Village of Bement.