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Chestnuts roasting, carolers caroling -- community comes together for Holly Days
 

It was a hot day in the summer of 1945 when singer-songwriter Mel Torme went to Bob Well’s house for a collaborative session, Wells being Torme’s lyrical partner.  Wells wasn’t home so Torme let himself in and found next to Wells’ piano a sheet of paper with four lines on it:
 
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.
 
Turns out it was so oppressively hot that summer day that Wells had invented a wintry scene to transport himself to a cool place. The resulting song would grow into a beloved holiday classic known simply the world over as “The Christmas Song.”
 
Just as Wells inserted himself to a joyful holiday scene, you can find yourself surrounded by the holidays with a visit to downtown Farmington this Saturday. It’s the town’s annual tradition of “Holly Days” with events and activities from morning to evening. You’ll find a holiday market offering greens and artisan gifts. The children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and take part in an elves workshop. It all builds to the popular Light up the Grand Parade, followed by the Farmington Area Jaycees’ 34th annual Tree Lighting at the Governor Warner Mansion. lt’s a holiday scene you’ll want to be a part of. 
 
It all starts at 10 a.m. when the Farmington Farmers Market opens with its special “Greens Gifts & Giving” market, which welcomes shoppers until 5 p.m. You can chat with some of our farmers and stroll among their freshly fashioned wreaths, roping, centerpieces, porch accents and more. Many of our weekly artisans will be sharing special holiday items that make one-of-a-kind gifts. A warming fire will set the stage as the unmistakeable aroma of a Petey’s Donut fills the air, made fresh at market, plopping off conveyor belts one by one.  
 
A donut in hand deserves a beverage in the other! Stop by the Holly Days Inn for a hot chocolate or beverage of crafted holiday spirits, sponsored by newcomer Detroit Eatz. The inn will be located inside a mini-village of tents that will include the People’s Pierogi Collective serving made-to-order pierogi, potato pancakes and fire-grilled sausage. Nearby, local mainstay Page’s Restaurant will be serving up free cups of its award-winning chili with all the fixin’s for donations ($5 is appreciated), 100% of which will go to CARES of Farmington Hills. Every year, Dennis Page stirs up a couple of dozen gallons of chili to benefit area families in need. When I connected Page to CARES Director Todd Lipa, I found they were old acquaintances! Together, they will help more than 750 area families put food on their tables this holiday season by stocking the pantry at the CARES community kitchen. This is the wonderful giving aspect of “Greens Gifts and Giving,” but it takes all of us to make the holidays warm and bright for those less fortunate. Box or pantry items may also be dropped off here.
 
Just down the street at the historic Farmington Civic Theater,  the holiday movies “Shrek the Halls” and “Polar Express” will headline the marquee starting at 10 a.m.  Both films are free in exchange for a canned or boxed pantry item supporting the area Goodfellows in their annual holiday “food on the table” campaign.
 
Elsewhere in Riley Park, you’ll find folks of all ages waiting to board the holiday trackless train while strolling carolers entertain, stopping occasionally to warm themselves by the fire. Be sure to visit the pavilion where you will find artisan wares,  gourmet pantry fare and fresh-baked goodness. Yes, we even thought of that one of a kind ugly sweater (aren’t they all one of a kind?). In the new age of digital retailing ,this old way of shopping out in the community is still a refreshing and invigorating holiday alternative as you smile when you say, “I found this at the market…” 
 
Local businesses taking part include The Vines of downtown Farmington and the Corner Barbers. The Corner Barbers? Mike LaFever who has been working a chair at the iconic barber shop at the town’s four corners for more than 40 years also owns and operates LaFever Farms, a 20-acre spread dedicated to growing and harvesting Michigan chestnuts. Mike will be roasting at the market during the day and again later in the evening at the Warner Mansion after the parade. “I wanted to find something that my dad and I could do together and that would keep him busy,” said Mike with a sturdy chuckle, adding: “We started in 1997, and I’ve been busy ever since!  Dad sure had a special talent for making things grow.”
 
Other happenings at the market include a kid’s ornament-making station hosted by area Jaycees and a free holiday photo booth sponsored by the Basement Burger Bar. In the middle of this hustle and bustl, you’ll want to make time for a visit with Santa at the Farmington Garage (across from the market, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.), sponsored by Focal Point Studios with free pictures. A storytime with Mrs. Claus will take place at Essential Family Chiropractic (steps from the market and also 10 a.m.-3 p.m.). At the same time, Great Lakes ACE will host a free Elves Workshop. As dusk settles over Farmington, the Light up the Grand parade will make its way from the Village Commons Mall at 5:30 p.m. to the Warner Mansion where all may gather to sing Christmas carols and welcome Santa to light up the town Christmas tree.
 
A busy weekend awaits and I have to run to make ready, so until next time then and as always here’s saying “See you at the market” with a special holiday wish from “The Christmas Song”:
 
And so I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although it's been said many times, many ways,
Merry Christmas to you!
 
For a complete schedule of Holly Days events, click here.

For a list of market vendors, click here.
  
 

Walt Gajewski
Market Manager

Market Manager, Walt Gajewski    

 
The Farmington Farmers Market is located at Grand River and Grove Street in downtown Farmington and is free and open to the public seasonally mid-May through October.  A special holiday market for Greens Gifts and Giving will take place on Saturday, December 7, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. during downtown Farmington’s annual Holly Days. Check back for more details.

If you have any additional questions, comments or suggestions about the market feel free to email us at market@downtownfarmington.org or click here to find us on Facebook at Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market. Please Like Us on Facebook so we can keep you updated on "Saturday life in a Michigan small town!"