BERNARDS TWP., NJ - The sixth annual Winter Market, Homespun Holidays, and holiday tree lighting brought a crowd out on Saturday afternoon to enjoy a community holiday kick-off, including unique gifts and edible treats inside Bishop Janes United Methodist Church, with an evening tree lighting outdoors.
The William Annin Middle School choir accompanied the festivities, which also included a visit from Santa.
The Winter Market and tree lighting, sponsored by the Basking Ridge Business Alliance, and were held in conjunction with the United Methodist Women's Homespun Holidays, held downstairs at the church at 22 S. Finley Avenue. That returning holiday market offered childrens' toys, gourmet foods and baked goods, crafts and quilted items.
The Winter Market featured distinctive vendors such as Forged in Wood, with pieces honoring the Basking Ridge great white oak; Little Lambs preschool, selling treats, including cookies baked by teachers for preschool scholarships to help students afford preschool; original art sold by Alejandro Roy of Bedminster; and more.
One vendor was WAMS student Noor Nauman, 12, who used her talent in making unique and custom bracelets and keychains to raise funds for Lustgarten Foundation Cancer Research. She said she would donate all proceeds for the research in honor of her grandfather, "a very loving and caring person" who lost his life to pacreatic cancer.
The WAMS singers, later joined by Santa and BRBA president Ryan McCloskey, gathered on the steps of Coldwell Banker's office on South Finley Avenue. Ridge Family Dentistry later hosted a chance to meet Santa.
Brooks Betz, "Mr. Local History" and Bernards Township's new historian, set up a place on the porch of The Washington House restaurant, and offered both children and parents a chance to color unique holiday cards created by Liberty Corner artist Linda Arnold. The cards portrayed the Christmas eve sing in downtown Basking Ridge. Parents colored cards to donate to those serving in the US military.
Bishop Janes' annual Christmas tree and wreath sale was also underway during the event.