For us, the holidays immediately bring to mind food, family, friends and traditions (celebrating our past but also creating new holiday traditions as we move forward). For some of our younger/younger at heart patrons, the holidays also mean gifts! So mark your calendar for some of the most wonderful arts events of the year in Garrett County:

A truly magical event in the Grantsville Arts & Entertainment District, Spruce Forest Artisan Village’s Annual Christmas in the Village runs Friday, December 6th from 4-8pm and Saturday, December 7th from noon to 8pm. Christmas in the Village has become a much anticipated tradition for many of our community residents and visitors. Come enjoy live music in the Village Church, activities in the Village buildings, hot chocolate and cider to warm you up, and luminaries throughout the Village and over the Casselman River Bridge. In addition to the activities in the Village, there will be guest artists in the Great Room above Penn Alps. And don’t worry about parking! During the event hours, a free shuttle bus will run from the Grantsville Elementary School to the Artisan Village.

On December 6, Santa will make an appearance at the B&O Railroad Museum for the Town of Oakland’s Tree Lighting. Dancers from Brenda’s Body Shop will also be performing there.

On Saturday, December 7, start your morning at Our Town Theatre as they host their Christmas Market from 9am-3pm. Artisans will be selling their original work and delicious treats at 121 E. Center Street. Then walk down Second Street for “Soup & Santa,” where the Garrett County Arts Council will join local non-profits in providing free soup to holiday shoppers in the Oakland Arts & Entertainment District from 11am-2pm. Staff from the Ruth Enlow Library will be at The Gallery Shop making paper snowflakes with attendees. From 12:30pm-1:30pm, join us for Christmas Carols and Holidays Songs with the Southern Middle School Chorus and Southern Middle School Hand Bell Choir; directed by Southern Middle’s Leah Shaw. The Swanton Cub Scouts Pack 57 will be serving s’mores in the Oakland Pocket Park for an afternoon pick-me-up! And of course, Santa will once again be downtown to greet everyone.

To really get you in the holiday spirit, you also need lots of holiday music! Our Garrett County Arts Council grantees, Garrett Community Concert Band and the Garrett Choral Society each hold wonderful holiday concerts:

Dr. Sean Beachy will be directing the Garrett County Concert Band’s “Herald the Holidays” on Sunday, December 8 at 2:30pm in the Garrett College Auditorium. Tickets are available at The Gallery Shop: $8 adults; $2 students; and children 5 and under are free.

The Garrett Choral Society presents “Christmastide: featuring Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus” at St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Oakland on Saturday, December 14 at 7pm and Sunday, December 15 at 3pm. Debi Beachy will be directing, with Sean Beachy as accompanist/director. Tickets are available at The Gallery Shop: $12 adult; $5 student; and children 5 and under are free.

Throughout December, The Gallery Shop will be open Monday-Saturday from 10am-5:30pm for all your gift-giving needs. Our local and regional artists having been re-stocking their work over the last few weeks with:

• Handcrafted jewelry to show someone how special they are;
• Ceramic mugs, bowls, and plates for the perfect table setting;
• Cutting boards, cheese boards, bowls, platters and plates, and wooden ornaments;
• Yarn, woven jackets, marbled scarves, knitwear and felted hats will keep you cozy and cheerful during the winter months;
• Warm up your home with quilted wall hangings and fiber artwork;
• Handmade soaps for your stockings;
• Catnip toys for the pet lover;
• Spruce up your mantle with a new watercolor, acrylic, oil or mixed-media painting;
• Children’s books, novels and bookmarks for the bookworm in your family; and
• Don’t forget the gift of a Garrett County Arts Council Membership! It’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year with a 10% discount on all purchases, attendance at artist receptions, special invitations to workshops and demonstrations, and our exclusive Annual Members Meeting.

The official arts agency of the county, the Garrett County Arts Council, Inc. is funded by Maryland State Arts Council, Garrett County Government, and through your membership support. For more information, please contact GCAC offices at or 301-334-6580.