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December 2, 2009 > Christmas fun at the farm

Christmas fun at the farm

By Meenu Gupta
Photos By Courtesy of Bernadette Cruz

There is so much going on at Ardenwood Historic Farm this holiday season. This gem of old-time fun is treasured as a quiet vacation, true to its 19th-century beginnings. Far from the turbulence of daily life, the natural setting of the farm beckons. Participate in holiday activities and let the farm's tranquility do its magic.

Celebrate the holiday season in Victorian style. Visit the beautifully decorated Patterson House, sing Christmas carols, search for the Yule Log and visit Father Christmas at the Gazebo. Local vendors will be selling hand-crafted gifts, chocolates and fabric arts in the farmyard. Carriage rides will be provided by Hackney Horse and Carriage Company. Listen to live musical performances and bake home-made Christmas cookies.

Bring your cookies and recipe along with for the cookie baking contest. Five lucky visitors will be selected by a lottery to judge the entries and awarded fabulous first, second, and third place prizes including a family pass to Ardenwood Farm, an antique serving tray, and an Ardenwood Farm chef's apron. Entries are due at 11 a.m. in the Country Kitchen. There will be one contest each day, December 5 and 6 at 11 a.m.; winners will be announced at noon.

'The Nutcracker' Puppet Company will dazzle visitors with this timeless holiday classic on Saturday. 'A Time to be Jolly' a holiday marionette show by the puppet company that will provoke giggles and oing. On Saturday don't miss the live flute music performance by Kristen Brook Davidson's fabulous students. Caller Alan Winston and members of the Bay Area Contra Dance Society will also perform a community dance complete with live music; all ages and dance talent are welcome.

The day also includes an abundance of Christmas crafts, puppet shows, music and country kitchen treats. Activities include blacksmithing demonstrations at the shop in the farmyard, train rides and Christmas crafts. Visitors can make decorations, learn to dance, hunt for the Yule Log, and help wassail the orchard by pouring wassail or warm spiced cider on the roots of trees and singing to keep away evil spirits. Burning the Yule Log provides a blessing for the coming year. A piece of the Yule log is kept at home, radiating good luck throughout the year.

Visitors are welcome to make unique crafts with materials found on the farm: fruit, berries, wheat stalks, scraps of cloth, paper, ribbon, bits of metal or evergreen plants. Craft a traditional Danish Heart woven paper basket. Legend has it that the famous author Hans Christian Andersen gave his sweetheart a paper heart just like this for Christmas in 1860.

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe during Christmas has a long history involving many cultures including Celtic and Scandinavian. Springs of the evergreen epiphytic plant were hung in homes to ensure a good year's fortune, harmony within the family, and to ward off evil. Guests in the home embraced under the mistletoe ands sprigs hung outside welcomed weary travelers. Enemies that happened to meet under a tree containing mistletoe were required to lay down their arms and forget their differences for a day.

Holiday traditions of a Victorian celebration of Christmas are alive at the Ardenwood Farm. Join the fun.

Christmas at Ardenwood
Saturday, December 5 and Sunday December 6
10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Ardenwood Historic Farm
34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont
(510) 544- 2797
www.ebparks.org

$8/adults; $6/seniors (62+years), $5/children (4-17 yrs.), children 3 yrs. and under are free

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