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Paonia hosts three days of merry making

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File photo The annual hayride through downtown Paonia happens Dec. 3 as part of a weekend of holiday festivities. Numerous local businesses and organizations will offer open houses, samplings of local food and drink, movies, a puppet show and much more.

It will take three days to encompass all the holiday activities being planned by the Paonia Chamber of Commerce, Alpine Bank, Bross Hotel and more than a dozen participating businesses and organizations.

The festivities begin Friday, Dec. 2, and continue through the weekend with holiday open houses, sales, samples and celebrations. A complete schedule can be found on the chamber website at www.paoniachamber.com, or in the Christmas Gift Guide contained in the Nov. 23 issue of the Delta County Independent.

While the Holiday Art Fair at the Blue Sage Center for the Arts is in its 24th year, other events are being sponsored by the many new businesses that have popped up in Paonia just in the last year. This weekend is a great time to discover small-town "jewels" like Green Cottage 334, Indigo Autumn, Refinery, Cirque Cyclery and Berg Harvest Mercantile.

Business is booming in Paonia, says Susan Shoemaker, Paonia Chamber of Commerce. The community's healthy, organic lifestyle and the abundance of artists, musicians and other creative folks who call Paonia home are drawing folks from all parts of the country.

Recently the chamber reinstated Business After Hours, and the networking events are drawing an amazing number of people every month.

The Paonia Chamber of Commerce is also now staffed fulltime. The chamber's visitor center shares space with the North Fork Creative Coalition at 136 Grand Avenue.

For the holiday festivities, the Paonia chamber has jumped in to help organize weekend activities, so visitors can find the complete schedule in one place.

Festivities begin Friday, Dec. 2, with open houses, wine tastings and sales. The Paonia Library will hold a holiday book sale, silent auction and kids' programs from 1 to 5 p.m. At 7 p.m., join the community and the Town of Paonia for the Holiday Glow Light Celebration in Poulos Park.

Kids have lots of options on Saturday. The Friends of Paonia Library will hold their annual holiday puppet show at 11 a.m. and noon. The annual holiday hayride departs from Lizzy's Market from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. For those wanting to see the puppet show, the hay wagon will make regular stops at the library. The holiday and book sale continue Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The hay wagon will also stop at the Children's Winter Faire at the North Fork School of Integrated Studies. The Learning Council is sponsoring merry making for the entire family to include crafts, delicious food and music. The winter faire runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the school at 430 Box Elder Avenue.

Santa will make his appearance at the Eccentric Artist Gallery Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m.

The community-owned Paradise Theatre will show free animated holiday movies at 2 and 4 p.m. The regular movie Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights is the modern version of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas."

Also on Saturday, kids can stop by Paonia Town Hall between noon and 4 p.m. to pick up a cookie cottage kit sponsored by the Paonia Parents Organization.

The $7 kit includes a pre-assembled graham cracker cottage, a bag of frosting and a bag of candy -- everything you need to decorate your own candy home. Stay and decorate at Town Hall or take the components home to decorate at your own leisure. Only 150 kits will be available so come early.

Kids can enter their cottage into a competition. Want more of a challenge? Use "rejected" broken pieces to create your own masterpiece.

The Blue Sage Center for the Arts will host the 24th annual Paonia Holiday Art Fair. More than 20 artists will be represented at the event, which runs from 3-8 p.m. Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Alfred Eames Cellars will host its annual barrel tasting from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 11931 4050 Road. At about 1 and 3 p.m. the local madrigal group will sing in the cellar.

Up and down Grand Avenue, you'll find amazing gift ideas, stocking stuffers, culinary treats and a homecooked meal. Many businesses are offering giveaways, free refreshments and live music. Come discover all that Paonia has to offer.

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