Wassail Weekend 2022 at Artistree

Image courtesty The Woodstock Inn

Every December the Town of Woodstock, VT rings in the season with Wassail Weekend, one of the biggest and best holiday celebrations in New England. The festival is packed with entertaining events including an elaborate parade, craft fairs, a yule log bonfire, tours of decorated historic homes, and much more. Wassail Weekend 2022, the town’s 38th annual celebration, drew unprecedented numbers of visitors. Artistree's community of artists, musicians, and staff offered two festive events for the Wassail program.

On the evening of Friday, December 9, Artistree hosted a holiday concert in The Grange Theatre featuring local children and community musicians who came together to present old and new festive classics. The program was developed collaboratively between Artistree staff, Artistree Community Theatre (ACT) Jr. students, and Upper Valley musicians, and acts included soloists, duets, and group numbers. Performers played to a nearly sold out house filled with appreciative family, friends, and visitors.

The following day, over 80 children and adults joined Artistree’s teaching staff for a special ornament making event. This two-hour workshop offered participants opportunities to explore our studios and create over ten different kinds of ornaments using a wide range of materials from natural evergreens to beads to tree “cookies” and more. Visitors were encouraged to use familiar materials in unconventional ways, making crafts like puzzle piece wreaths and snowflakes, canning lid “stained glass,” and clay pot bells.

Partnering with the Town of Woodstock for Wassail Weekend has become an Artistree tradition. Pairing the joy of the holiday season with music and visual art always creates new possibilities for bringing people together and making memories that will be treasured for years to come. We look forward to the 39th celebration next December!

In the Anglo-Saxon tradition, the commoners would visit their lord at the start of the excellent year. He would wish them “Waes hael” (be well), and they would respond “Drinc hael” (drink and be healthy). By the Middle Ages, the term wassail was applied to a practice during the Christmas season when peasants could visit the homes of their feudal overlords…By King Henry VIII’s time in the 16th Century…Wassail became a popular tradition for wishing each other a Happy Christmas and new year. -The History of Wassail