Ferndale festivals celebrate the holiday season

By Sharon Gittleman

In a few short weeks, downtown Ferndale will be festooned with green garlands, red bows, bright lights, welcoming wreathes and snowflake banners. However, visitors will have more than jolly decorations and traditional melodies piped in speakers along city's streets to enjoy. An ice carving festival, strolling madrigal singers, a mischievous Santa and more are in store for people who come to fashionable Ferndale during the most festive time of the year.
The 12th annual Holiday Show Place will kick off the seasonal joys from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., on Nov. 20, at the Gerry Kulick Community Center. Over 50 artists will show off their homemade sweaters, rolled tapers, dolls, quilts, hand-painted gift cards and more at the sale. The event is a fund-raiser supporting the city's senior activities and services provided at the center throughout the year.
Motor City Pride attendees will recognize one of the vendors at the Holiday Show Place. Mary and Howard Tracey brought their unique jewelry to the 2004 summer salute to LGBT pride.
Ferndale resident Mary Tracey said she and her husband decided to sell their handmade and boutique-purchased designs at Motor City Pride because the event was one of her hometown's community celebrations.
"We had a great time. It was really neat to meet all the people," she said. "It's something we're going to do again next year."
Tracey's jewelry collection includes rainbow beaded necklace chokers and charm bracelets with dangling metal butterflies, hearts and flowers.
"We have a crystal necklace that comes in pinks and blues with little droplets of glass beads that go around the neck," she said. "Sometimes I just take a plain chain and put a bead pendent on it."
You won't have to pay half your salary to afford one of Tracey's baubles.
"The majority of our stuff is two for $5," she said.
The Holiday Showplace won't be the only Ferndale event you'll want to add to your calendar. On Dec. 11, dragons, angels and snowmen will arrive in town to guard the doors of 49 downtown shops.
The special visitors will be created by six-time world champion ice carver Tajana Raukar, and several of her friends, said Ann Steslicke, Ferndale Downtown Development Authority Ambassador.
Traditional carving subjects aren't the only sights you'll find at the festival. A bowl of icy "steaming soup," will grace Le Soups! entryway while glasses hanging from a crane will be found in front of Crane Optical, Steslicke said.
Three giant sculptures will be carved as you watch during the event, which runs from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
Eager shoppers won't be left out of the fun that weekend. From 6 -9 p.m., Dec. 9th to 11th, visitors will enjoy listening to strolling musicians, including madrigal singers, a brass band and the Ferndale High School choir, said Steslicke. Hot cider, roasted nuts and other treats will reinvigorate bargain hunters determined to find the perfect holiday gift.
Steslicke encourages shoppers to watch for the city's "roving Santa." Santa's bag is packed with gifts for adults and children – and lumps of coal for those in need of a holiday attitude adjustment.
Several lucky visitors will enjoy a special present. Five people will be selected to recieve a $100 gift certificate valid at a variety of downtown shops. Register for your chance to win the prize when you make any purchase at a participating store.
Drivers will get a gift during the Ice Festival weekend – free parking.
The Holiday Showplace will be held at the Gerry Kulick Community Center located at 1201 Livernois in Ferndale. The entry fee is 50 cents per person.


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