Shelburne Falls ushers in ‘alternative to Black Friday shopping’ with 36th Moonlight Magic

  • Santa Claus (portrayed by Lenny Stratton) lights the Christmas tree during Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Members of the Greenfield-based fitness group MEGAdance perform to holiday music on the Iron Bridge during Moonlight Magic in Shelburne Falls on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Lenny and Becki Stratton, portraying Santa and Mrs. Claus, wave to the crowd from Santa’s sleigh as it heads down Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls on Friday as part of the 36th annual Moonlight Magic. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Moonlight Magic brings holiday cheer to Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls on Friday. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 11/27/2022 2:15:50 PM
Modified: 11/27/2022 2:13:25 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Moonlight Magic was in the air Friday night, drawing hundreds of attendees who wouldn’t let a little rain dampen their holiday cheer.

Organizers of the 36th annual event, consisting of a Parade of Lights, tree lighting, Santa’s workshop and more, had transformed Bridge Street into a winter wonderland. Families, vendors and local craftspeople soaked in this seasonal joy from 4 to 9 p.m., the raindrops overhead emitting a prismatic twinkle in the glow of holiday lights.

“This is what you see on TV,” said Rowe resident Alana Calhoun. “This is Stars Hollow from ‘Gilmore Girls.’”

Calhoun, who said she moved to the area from Texas a week prior, worked the Moonlight Magic information booth alongside Shelburne Falls resident Adriana Isaza-Geary. Isaza-Geary said that every year, she and her husband “walk around and grab some good food.” On Black Friday, she added, this is “way better than going to the mall.”

“I’m so glad this is Shelburne Falls’ alternative to Black Friday shopping,” Isaza-Geary said.

While Black Friday inherently draws customers, some saw Moonlight Magic as being particularly opportune for small businesses. Dakota Deane, owner of Deane’s Wreaths, relished what he perceived as a bigger crowd than what was at last year’s event.

“I think it’s just a good way to get my name out there and sell some items and everything else,” he said of Moonlight Magic. “It’s a good way to support the community.”

Heads turned toward the Iron Bridge at around 5 p.m. as flashing red lights illuminated its trusses. Sirens sounded as emergency vehicles ushered in Saint Nick, who was joined by Mrs. Claus atop a trailer adorned with Christmas decor.

“Shelburne is very dear to our hearts and we love Moonlight Magic,” said Shelburne Falls resident Becki Stratton, who has portrayed Mrs. Claus at Moonlight Magic for eight years.

Stratton said she has traveled the country as a professional Mrs. Claus for a decade with her Mr. Claus and real-life husband Lenny Stratton.

“Once he puts on the suit, it’s like a change,” she explained. “It brings you great joy to bring these memories for these children and make memories for families.”

Small children rushed to meet Santa as he exited his trailer and headed toward the village’s Christmas tree. Families cheered as the tree’s lights flickered on with the raising of his hand.

When asked what motivates him to reprise his role as Santa at Moonlight Magic year after year, Lenny Stratton showed no hesitation. Placing his hand over his heart, he said, “It’s all in here.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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