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December beckons visitors to downtown businesses

WINSTED — With Black Friday and Cyber Monday now fading memories, the first weekend of December is shaping up to be a busy time for Winsted retailers and shoppers, who will enjoy several coordinated events to kick off the local holiday shopping season.The main event of the weekend will be Friends of Main Street’s annual Christmas on Main Street on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 5 p.m. Now in its third year, the celebration offers freebies and discounts to customers who wish to support the local economy, while children will get a chance to meet Santa, have cookies and hot chocolate, toast marshmallows and take hayrides.Stores all along Main Street participate in the holiday event, which is centered around the Friend of Main Street office at 398 Main St.Kathy’s Cupboard, Health Food Corner, Kelly’s Kitchen and The Winsted Journal are all participants in the event, along with members of The Winsted Elks Lodge, who will be giving away free hats, scarves and mittens to children.Shoppers are invited to participate in carol singing and enjoy a bake sale as part of the festivities. Santa will be at the Friends of Main Street office from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. and hayrides will run from 2 to 4 p.m. Shoppers are encouraged to visit all of downtown Winsted’s specialty shops, antiques stores and restaurants for holiday deals.In addition to carolers, the Gilbert School Brass Ensemble will be downtown to perform for Christmas on Main Street. Northwest Community Bank is sponsoring the horse-drawn hayrides, and the Winsted Fire Department will take charge of roasting the marshmallows.Across town at the Whiting Mills Building, 100 Whiting St., will be the fifth annual Open Studio Weekend hosted by the Artists at Whiting Mills. From pewtersmithing and weaving to reupholstered furniture, folk art, train sets and collectors’ baseball cards, Whiting Mills has become a center of arts, retail and industrial activity. A gallery on the building’s second floor features works by artists throughout the building, while individual studios will be open to give visitors a glimpse into each artist’s creative process.Also on display this weekend will be a collection of photographs by Frank DeMars, an art store owner and photographer from the turn of the 20th century who produced a vast array of images of Winchester and surrounding towns. The photos have been restored by DeMars’ granddaughter, Peg Giles, who discovered thousands of glass plate negatives in a family attic in 2009. Large-scale photos will be on display in the Laurel Room at Whiting Mills, and Winsted’s Economic Development Commission will host a reception for the show on Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m.Those looking for even more local history can visit the Beardsley & Memorial Library, which will host its holiday open house Saturday, Dec. 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Jerrod Cattey Jazz Trio will perform for the event and refreshments will be served. It’s a good opportunity to become reacquainted with Winsted’s historic public library.Finally, an open house is also happening at Charter Community Television’s local cable access studios at 140 Willow Street on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Community members are invited to tour the studios and learn how to produce local television shows, including operating cameras and working the studio boards. For more information, call the studios at 860-738-5090.

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