It’s the place to get in the holiday spirit.
With two events this Friday to kick off Christmas at the Dole, Crystal Lake’s historic mansion has never looked more festive, said Erin Byrne McElroy, the advancement coordinator for Lakeside Legacy Foundation, which hosts the events.
“We’re always I think beautiful at the holiday season, but this year especially,” she said.
The Dole will host a “Ladies Holiday Soiree” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and a “Celebrate Me Home” concert at 8 p.m. Dec. 2. Village of Lakewood President Erin Smith will light the Sage Gallery Christmas Tree at 1 p.m.
The afternoon event includes a Festival of Trees donated by area businesses and available for auction, as well as a Holiday Bazaar featuring local artists selling items, such as jewelry, candles, ornaments, purses, mittens, furniture and holiday floral designs.
Visitors also will be able to see a “Double Vision” art exhibit featuring artwork, also for sale, by artists Susan Ploughe and Frankie Johnson.
A Chef Culinary Showcase provides guests with one complimentary beverage and pastry with appetizers, as well as the opportunity to watch demonstrations, learn holiday entertaining tips and try samples from area restaurants. Some of their food will be available for sale.
“It’s truly an opportunity to shop local and find unique one of a kind gifts,” McElroy said.
The festivities continue that night with a performance by area singers John Hegner and Cassandra Vohs-Demann.
The two let their fans guide them when it came to picking out songs, putting out a request on Facebook for suggestions.
“We will be performing a collection of Christmas songs, some traditional and some more recent,” Hegner said.
He and Vohs-Demann were among the first artists to perform in the relatively new “the Listening Room,” which features a Steinway piano.
“For both the performers and the audience, I think it’s kind of a cabaret type venue,” Hegner said. “It reminds me more of music venues I would find in New York.”
Originally from Woodstock, Hegner worked in Boston and New York for more than a decade creating commercial music for clients, such as Reebok and Bloomberg.
He has composed, recorded and produced music for television, radio and film, and now owns Starbell Hatcher, a recording studio and rehearsal space in Harvard. He has released his first solo album, “254.”
He and Vohs-Demann, known for her songwriting and vocals both as a solo artist and with her band Cassandra and the Gravel Road band, regularly perform together.
Her CD, “Here I Am,” was recorded at Hegner’s Starbell Hatchery Studio.
Both enjoy and emphasize the story-telling aspect of music and look forward to performing in the Listening Room’s intimate atmosphere.
“You don’t find a lot of those (spaces) here,” Hegner said.By JAMI KUNZER – email@example.com