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Lighting up winter nights — Island gatherings welcome in the holidays

Islanders shook off their turkey-induced drowsiness to gather on Saturday, Nov. 26, to celebrate the opening of the Christmas season.

The Chequit hosted its lighting beginning at 2 p.m. as a fundraiser for the Shelter Island School’s Senior Class.

The Shelter Island School Select Chorus provided musical cheer to the evening. (Credit: Susan Carey Dempsey)

Hot chocolate, mulled wine, cookies and doughnuts were served and holiday music featured the School’s Select Chorus members Madison Springer, Alex Burns, Margaret Schultheis and Kaitlyn Gulluscio with musical direction from Sara Mundy, along with senior choristers.

The arrival of a fire truck later heralded the visit from the guest of honor, Santa Claus, happily greeted by youngsters reminding him how good they have been.

A special guest made an appearance. (Credit: Susan Carey Dempsey)

As darkness fell, the hotel’s Director of Community Relations Stacey Soloviev, flipped the switch to light up the building.

The Ram’s Head Inn hosted its first annual Tree Lighting Ceremony from 4 to 6 p.m., featuring music by Vanessa Trouble; a special story book reading by Billy Baldwin; carolers; arts and crafts with bird seed ornament making hosted by Cornell Cooperative; cookie decorating; along with fire pits, s’mores, hot chocolate and spiced cider.

A highlight of this holiday season will be Vanessa Leuck, Ethan Popp and Broadway on the North Fork bringing their one-man immersive adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” to the Ram’s Head Inn for one night only. The production will be presented on Dec. 10 at 6:30 p.m., along with a three-course meal. Reservations and further information are available at theramsheadinn.com.

There are still plans ahead for more holiday lightings and gatherings. The Island’s Chamber of Commerce has its traditional tree lighting planned for Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 5 p.m. in front of the police station. Brett Surerus will serve as master of ceremonies and members of the school band will be on hand for holiday music and caroling.

The lighting will be immediately followed by a gathering at Legion Hall, where Mr. and Mrs. Claus will greet children and guests. As usual there will be hot chocolate, music, cookies and other treats.

On Friday, Dec. 9, the Sylvester Manor Windmill will be the site of the farm’s 2nd Annual Windmill lighting, from 4 to 5 p.m. The free event will feature hot chocolate, cookies and caroling at the base of the 1810 windmill at 21 Manwaring Road.