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City offers an old-fashioned holiday celebration

The Afton Area Business Association is offering a chance for people to get away from the holiday craze, forget about finding the hottest toys and get back to the holiday traditions that originally made the season fun. 

On Dec. 4 to 6 downtown Afton will be transformed into a winter wonderland full of old-fashioned small- town fun for its annual Afton Village Holiday celebration. 

"It's just an old fashioned holiday, it's just a sweet tradition," said event organizer and public relations coordinator Deb Larson. "It's a chance to slow down the hectic holiday pace and enjoy an old fashioned holiday -- it brings up a lot of memories, it's very nostalgic -- and Afton is the perfect place to host an old-fashioned traditional Christmas celebration." 

The Afton Village Holiday has been a holiday tradition for residents for roughly the past 15 years. 

Candlelight night and Santa Claus

This year's event will offer a wide variety of fun for both families and adults. The three-day celebration will be separated into three different theme days -- Candlelight Night, Family Day and Village Day. 

Candlelight Night will be geared toward adults as a date night, girls night out or just a night away from the kids. 

It will include a variety of adult-oriented, and romantic events including candlelight ice skating, romantic horse and wagon rides, torchlight shopping and complimentary wine tastings. 

Family Day and Village Day will have a lot of fun for families to enjoy including breakfast with Santa, strolling Christmas carolers and cookie decorating. Kids can go from store to store with their holiday stockings collecting treats and presents. 

Additionally, the local businesses and shops in Afton will be offering discounts and great holiday shopping, including bringing in some local artisans. 

"It's real popular for area families because it's a tradition -- it's impossible not to be in the holiday spirit," Larson said. "And there're so many unique gift ideas, so it's really a beautiful alternative to going to a mall." 

Owner of the Sail Away Café Marj Weir is heading up the celebration this year and she said organizers are really trying to expand the event because in past years it has been hit or miss and they are hoping to increase its exposure. 

"A lot of people don't know what we have down here in the winter," Weir said. "A lot of people think Afton just closes up in the winter." 

Some of the ways that the business association has proven its commitment to the event this year are that nearly all of the businesses are contributing this year  with specials, family crafts or other activities. 

Weir said she thinks the Afton Village Holiday is a great way for families to come together without the holiday stress. 

"Instead of going to the big mall and standing in line with Santa, you can spend a couple hours together and it's not overwhelming," she said. "It's not that 'Oh my gosh, if I go into one more store with screaming kids and crowds' --  it feels really slowed down and casual." 

2009 Afton Village Holiday celebration Dec. 4 to 6

Candlelight Night (Dec. 4) 

• Candlelight skating in the park 

• Romantic horse and carriage rides 

• Complimentary wine tasting and holiday menu

at Afton House Inn 

• Food sampling at Squire House Gardens

Family Day (Dec. 5) 

• 9-11 a.m. Breakfast with Santa 

• Horse and wagon rides 

• Strolling Christmas carolers 

• Tree decoration and hobby train at Afton


• Kids cookie decorating 

• Skating in the park

Village Day (Dec. 7) 

• 10 a.m. Afton House Inn holiday brunch 

• Face painting at Making Waves

• 2 p.m. Story time at Afton leather 

• 5:30 p.m. Advent Vespers at Memorial

Lutheran Church followed by Scandinavian


For more information and full schedule of events visit