Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping on your nose, Yuletide carols being sung by a choir, And folks dressed up like Eskimos. Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe, Help to make the season bright. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow, Will find it hard to sleep tonight. They know that Santa's on his way; He's loaded lots of toys and goodies on his sleigh. And every mother's child is going to spy, To see if reindeer really know how to fly. And so I'm offering this simple phrase, To kids from one to ninety-two, Although its been said many times, many ways, A very Merry Christmas to you
CHRISTMAS FAIR Saturday, December 1, 2018 8:30 am – 12:30 pm Annisquam Village Hall 32 Leonard Street Annisquam, Massachusetts 01930
For years, residents of Cape Ann have lined up at the Annisquam Village Hall before the doors open for the annual Christmas Fair to purchase the beautiful greens, gifts, and gourmet goodies made by the ladies of the Annisquam Sewing Circle.
The fair is known for its beautiful wreaths, but there will also be decorated boxwood trees and mantle and table centerpieces suitable for smaller spaces.
The abundance and variety of handcrafted items will dazzle the eye—sweaters, socks, hats and mittens; placemats, potholders and monogrammed dish towels; needlepoint tree ornaments created by the members of the Annisquam Sewing CIrcle just for this fair, as well as many more one-of-a-kind items that will not be found anywhere else! Once again, Circle member Grace Murray has knitted one of her unique hats (her 335th!), which will be offered in the Silent Auction. Only one of these hats will be available at the Fair. Also, another one-of-a-kind item! Connie Mason has created one of her needlepoint doorstops which will be in the Silent auction.
Beautifully wrapped foods and baked goods grace the gourmet table —from homemade preserves to fancy cakes, gluten-free items and even Food for Fido and your Favorite Feline. The fair also features a glittering display of costume jewelry which for many shoppers is a destination itself. Hostess baskets and grab bags are also popular traditional items at the Fair.
A delicious three-course luncheon will be served at 12:30. Tickets are $18 and reservations are recommended.: send request to: AnnisquamSewingCircle@gmail.com
Founded in 1837, the Annisquam Sewing Circle is one of the oldest continuous independent societies of women in the United States and is the oldest one on Cape Ann. All proceeds from the Fair are contributed by the Annisquam Sewing Circle to Cape Ann community programs and scholarships.
For years residents of Cape Ann have been lining up at the Annisquam Village Hall before the doors open to purchase the beautiful wreaths decorated by the Ladies of the Annisquam Sewing Circle. In addition to the wreathes there will be Boxwood Trees, Mantle and Table Centerpieces.
And that is not all!
A groaning board is not an exaggeration in describing the Gourmet Food Table - from homemade preserves to fancy cakes, gluten-free items and even Food for Fido and your Favorite Feline!
And even more!
The abundance and variety of handcrafted items will dazzle the eye - sweaters, socks, hats and mittens; placemats, potholders and monogrammed dish towels; needlepoint tree ornaments created by the members of the ASC just for this Fair as well as many more one-of-a-kind items that will not be found anywhere else!
The Annual Luncheon
This traditional Luncheon will follow the Fair in the Annisquam Village Hall. Reservations will be available beginning in November. Space is limited. For more information email: AnnisquamSewingCircle@gmail.com
The Grounds of the Annisquam Exchange 32 Leonard Street, Gloucester MA 01930
Finally - Spring!
Due to the very cold weather this Spring and other Village events the Annual ASC Spring Plant & Gourmet Food Sale will be held on SUNDAY on the grounds of the Annisquam Exchange.
Join the Cape Ann community at the Annual Sewing Circle Sale on Sunday, May 20th from 8:30a.m. - 1:00pm. It will be held on the grounds of the Annisquam Exchange at 32 Leonard Street (turn off Washington St., Rt 127, at the Annisquam Village Church) in Gloucester, MA 01930. This event will feature a wide array of annuals and perennials from leading garden centers– including hanging plants, bedding plants and rose bushes. Go on the hunt for the perfect plants for your garden - sunny or shady. The Plant Sale also includes perennial plant treasures dug from our member’s gardens and sold at bargain prices!
A wide array of annuals and perennials – including hanging baskets, bedding plants and rose bushes
Plants that thrive on Cape Ann – collected from Sewing Circle members’ gardens
In addition to your quest for the perfect plants and not to be missed is our Gourmet Food Tablewith
delicious pies, cakes, and savory treats. Many items will be prepared
from recipes in our award-winning Annisquam Sewing Circle Cookbook, ” A Circle of Recipes,” which celebrated the 175th Anniversary of the Sewing Circle.
Come early for the best selection at this always popular event! The Plant and Gourmet Food Sale is held in the Village of Annisquam in Gloucester, off Rt. 127A. Turn down Leonard Street at the Annisquam Village Church and on to the Annisquam Exchange.
All profits are donated to Cape Ann community programs and given as scholarships
The hands that rock the cradles of Annisquam have always been busy, none more so than the talented and tenacious group of fundraising women known as the Annisquam Sewing Circle.
Now celebrating its 180th year, the circle's annual holiday fair has been decking Gloucester’s halls with boughs of holly and holiday greens going back to the days when it was the Annisquam Female Benevolent Society, founded in 1837. Its first fair offered — according to its archives — "figures of men made of raisins strung on wires, little tables and chairs of pine and various colored worsted, perforated cardboard book-marks with mottoes. ... Pen-wipers from the wishbones of turkeys or chickens, dressed as Satan (with) cloven feet of black sealing wax, red wax for lips, horn and tail, white beads for eyes..."
That first fair fetched $33 for the church. As the society evolved — in time calling itself a sewing circle— so too did its merchandise and its fundraising savvy. The circle worked to raise money for community causes through the sale of an ever-widening range of creations and events, one of which, its Christmas fair and luncheon, became an awesome annual.
Though it lasts just one singular sensation of a morning — this year, Dec. 2 — the fair is months in the works. And what works. Many hands may make the light work, but not that light.
This week — greens week — leading up to the fair "is back-breaking, but also lots of fun,” says Deb Bird, who with local artist Donna Caselden, is co-president of the circle.
"It's like stepping back in time," she says, when the circle's many gardeners turn their talented green thumbs to winter greens.
Spruce, pines, holly, junipers — much locally foraged under the direction of members Bonnie Angus and Stevie Neal — come gloriously together in a festive frenzy of activity as the village hall fills with hundreds of wreaths strung like so many of Santa's undershirts on clothes lines, surrounded by dozens of sparkling center pieces and boxwood trees — all for sale — to raise funds for community projects.
But all that glitters is not green.
Members are also each required to create two craft items, as well as two items for the bake table, and with 49 members, that adds up.
Some items have made their makers local celebrities. Connie Mason is famous for her red hot pepper jelly, Grace Murray is famous for her wonderful, colorful knitted Peruvian "Chullah" hats. Dollar grabs are hugely popular, gorgeously wrapped and great for stocking stuffers, for pets, kids, dads, etc.
Jams, jellies, condiments, cookies, knits, ornaments, candles, cards, cakes, plants. Pine cones foraged on trips to the forests of California and Maine. Gingerbread houses, gingerbread light houses. Stockings stacked on tables with care. It's all there.
Benevolent past, present
Considered the oldest continuous women's institution on Cape Ann, the Annisquam Sewing Circle had its "benevolent" roots in a time when — as for centuries before — sewing was considered the virtuous domestic benchmark of womanhood. In revolutionary America, it had given women a collective sense of purpose that went beyond hearth and home to the front lines; it was their needles that sewed soldiers' uniforms, that kept them warm on frozen battlefields.
But wars aren’t always fought on frozen battlefields. In early 19th century Gloucester, they were also fought — as today— against poverty, hunger, despair, and through long New England winters aboard dory boats storm-tossed on the freezing waves of the Atlantic.
For the dorymen of Gloucester, staying warm was as essential to winning a livelihood as winning battles had been to colonial revolutionaries, so much of the early work of the Annisquam Female Benevolent Society was knitting for them; mittens to keep their hands warm, thick woolen 'nippers' to protect them from the rope burns that came with arduous line hauling.
By March 1854, that year’s fair raked in $252.29, followed in August by an afternoon “tea party in Mrs. Pierce's grove,” that added $76 and a dance party the same evening that brought in $10.74 more. In January 1855, the society held a "festival" entertainment, that realized $107.10.
Sewing circles were at the time gathering strength in other parts of Massachusetts, too. In Worcester, with the founding of the Worcester Anti-Slavery Sewing Circle, they became explicitly political.The Annisquam Female Benevolent Society was never explicitly political (unless you count as political performing “acts of benevolence”) but come 1861, its members took an active role in the Civil War effort.
This year's proceeds will, as has been the tradition for a good many years now, go to a range of community causes and services.