Tuckerton Ye Old Christmas Walk, Christkindlmarkt Ring In Season

By PAT JOHNSON | Dec 05, 2018
Photo by: Pat Johnson DECK THE HALLS: The Bellarine Theatre choir sang traditional Christmas carols Dec. 1 in the Shoppes at The Tuckerton Emporium during Ye Old Tuckerton Christmas Walk.

Tuckerton was the Holiday Happening place on Saturday, Dec. 1.

Starting in the morning, with craft fairs at two area churches and the Parkertown Firehouse, followed by a full day of Christkindlmarkt and festivities at Tuckerton Seaport, and topped off with the evening Ye Old Fashioned Tuckerton Christmas Walk, it was almost too much fun for a Christmas elf to endure.

Every year, people come to the First Presbyterian Church of Tuckerton long before the 9:30 a.m. opening, lining up in the church pews. What’s the big deal? The church volunteers have been making crafts all year, including expertly knitted and crocheted blankets, sweaters and hats, cute pincushion trees, wooden birdhouses, plus attic finds. The first items to sell out are the baked goods, specialty cheese dips and quiches.

The First United Methodist Church held a local vendor fair and also sold homemade cookies. A beautiful assembled miniature Christmas Village made the fair festive.

Vendors from beyond the towns filled the tent at the Tuckerton Seaport’s Christkindlmarkt. There were homemade candies by the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. Owners Scott Macmillan and Rich Johnson come all the way from Flemington each year to sell their candy apples and delectable nibbles.

Karena Sherwood and Rich Casamento, from Avalon and Ocean City, set up their Art Corner with popular holiday decorations such as “Welcome” sleds, cathedral-type windows and garden art.

There were local honeys, roasted nuts, pottery and even Tupperware gifts for sale.

Three Cedars Forge had their portable blacksmith shop set up, and sold horseshoe crafts and iron tree shapes.

Seaport demonstrators Stephen Nuttall and Bob Bethke were making iron plant hooks, BBQ forks and other salable items in the Seaport’s blacksmith shop.

The Seaport Stitchers set up their quilted goods in the Tucker’s Island Lighthouse, where Betty Maguire explained she was making English paper-piecing hexagons as a start to a variety of items. “I’ve been a member for 13 years, ever since we moved here from Bergen County,” said Maguire. “But I’ve been quilting since I was in 8th grade in Tennessee and a neighbor taught me. I love it; it’s an addiction. I do it while sitting in front of the TV. It’s nice to have something to pickup and work on.”

Paul Hart, Seaport director emeritus, was putting the finishing touches on the Christmas Past Turn of the Century Tuckerton exhibit. Meanwhile, the original version of “Miracle on 34th Street” was playing in the Community Theater. And there were trees decorated with animal cracker boxes, tin toys and gee jaws.

The story of how Tuckerton shipped Christmas trees to Herald Square in New York City and “saved Christmas” was explained in a New York Herald newspaper article of Dec. 19, 1917: “The shortage in the city and the unusually high prices are relieved by the residents of the New Jersey fishing village, the good people of Tuckerton.” Proceeds from the wartime sale were to go to the American Red Cross.

The Festival of Christmas Trees, decorated by local organizations, are on display in the Lighthouse and over in the Sea Captain’s House. Lady Magpie’s Tea and Curiosities owner Phyllis Buford had tea and crumpets for sale in the Steam Punk Café.

As the early night fell, festivities spread from the Seaport to all over town for the Ye Old Tuckerton Christmas Walk. The Tuckerton Historical Society was dishing out free clam chowder and cookies over at Little Borough Hall on South Green Street.

The new owners of The Shoppes of the Tuckerton Emporium, Charlie and Kathleen Francis, had gone all out in decorating for the holidays. Their windows hold antique toys and a Victorian period parlor. The couple, along with daughter Desiree, were dressed in Victorian costume. On site, a Bellarine Theatre street choir gave a stunning performance of Christmas carols.

Families with children walked to the former Tuckerton Town Hall, where a snow machine was welcoming Santa, coming by fire truck. The Tuckerton Beach Association had decorated Santa’s throne as a winter wonderland; a special mailbox was posted outside for Letters to Santa.

Behind the hall, a horse and wagon ride clip-clopped around a gaily-decorated block of Clay Street.

The Tuckerton Firehouse gave out hot chocolate, where kids could chat with Sparky the Fire Dog.

The Methodist Church stayed open all day for revelers to find cookies and refreshments. At 7 p.m., the Oceanaires a capella group gave a holiday concert. Outside, a motorized train rented from Party Crashers took families for a wild ride around the church parking lot.

And a large contingent of singers from Anchor Christian Church strolled through town, stopping at the Wawa, Dynasty Diner and Atlantic City Jewelry Store.

“It was a fun night for all who attended,” Mayor Sue Marshall later said during the Dec. 3 borough council meeting.

“Those who weren’t able to attend missed a great time!”

The season’s local festivities continue with Little Egg Harbor’s tree-lighting event Dec. 8 at 5 p.m., when Santa will arrive at the Edward Thornton Community Center on West Calabreeze Way.

On Dec. 16, the Tuckerton Volunteer Fire Company will host a “Parade of Lights,” starting on Third Avenue and North Green Street at 5 p.m.

patjohnson@thesandpaper.net

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