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Moonlight Magic event marks start of holidays

A performer uses fire at a previous year’s Moonlight Magic event in Shelburne Falls. (Recorder file photo)

A performer uses fire at a previous year’s Moonlight Magic event in Shelburne Falls. (Recorder file photo)

SHELBURNE FALLS — The Yuletide season begins in earnest Friday evening, when the village rings-in its annual Moonlight Magic celebration, the day after Thanksgiving.

Bridge Street and the Iron Bridge become festive, candle-lit pedestrian walkways, as stores and shops stay open late for holiday shopping and special promotions within some of the shops.

Besides Christmas shopping, many come each year for the strolling musicians and caroling, for Santa’s Workshop in the Senior Center, and the homemade cookies sold at the Shelburne Falls Women’s Club’s annual cookie shop in the Visitors Center.

Moonlight Magic begins at 5:15 p.m., with the annual Parade of Lights over the Iron Bridge. Mole Hollow Candle Co., which was formerly based in Shelburne Falls, still donates about 1,200 candles, which are used in luminaries that line the streets as Santa, the Grinch, the Snow Princess and other traditional characters make their way through the town.

Also, visitors can ride the 1896 wooden, electrically powered trolley car throughout the evening. The Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum’s trolley track overlooks the river and the holiday lights, giving a picturesque view of the festivities.

While all the stores are within walking distance, the Academy at Charlemont is providing a shuttle service, with stops at Christopher’s Grinders, Salmon Falls Artisan Showroom, Lamson & Goodnow Factory Outlet, the Village Information Center and the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, where additional parking is available. The shuttle will run until about 8 p.m.

Among the free street performers will be: The Magic Guy, Uncle Hal’s Crabgrass Band, Violet’s Musical Saw and the Expandable Brass Band. Free classic cartoons (Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety Bird) will be shown on the Memorial Hall Theater’s big screen from 5:30 to 8 p.m., giving families with children a pleasant shopping break or warming place.

The event is hosted by the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association, with sponsorship from Greenfield Savings Bank, TransCanada Corp., Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Berkshire Insurance and Mole Hollow Candle Co.

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