Messiah sing highlights array of area holiday events

The 17th annual Messiah Sing concert will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Mont Vernon Congregational Church. The Messiah Sing features a community chorus with an orchestra accompaniment and is directed by Jennifer Erdody. Donations will be taken at the performance. The church is on Route 13 in Mont Vernon.

Tree lighting

Greenville’s third annual Christmas tree lighting will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Chamberlin Free Library. Sponsored by the Greenville Pride Beautification Committee and the Greenville Fire Department, the evening will feature the tree lighting, caroling and a visit by Santa, followed by coffee and home-baked goods. Bakers are still needed. For more information, or to volunteer, call 878-4125 or 878-0657.

Festival of Carols

The Milford United Methodist Church will host its annual Festival of Carols from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. This year’s festival will feature a craft sale and Christmas ornament sale; knit goods; the Country Kitchen with homemade jams, jellies and soups; the popular cookie run and fudge table; and a used jewelry sale. Early morning shoppers will be treated to an English teahouse complete with scones and coffee or tea.

At midday, there will be a soup and sandwich luncheon served. At various times throughout the day, the church bell choir will play traditional Christmas carols. All of the proceeds from the Festival of Carols are donated to charities. This year the charities include ministries worldwide through the New England conference of the United Methodist Church and Rebuilding Together.

Rebuilding Together is a national nonprofit that preserves and revitalizes houses and communities, assuring that low-income homeowners, particularly those who are elderly and disabled and families with children live in warmth, safety and independence. Rebuilding Together has a local affiliate in Manchester and hopes to work on a home in Milford this year.

The Milford United Methodist Church is at 20 Mont Vernon St., Milford. For more information, call the church office at 673-2669.

Holly Berry Fair

The First Congregational Church in Milford will hold its Holly Berry Fair from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. Booths at the fair will include Christmas Past; a candy and fudge table; a tea shop; various crafts; baked goods and a cookie walk. This year’s featured Christmas ornament depicts an artist’s rendering of the Garden Street School. Only a limited number of ornaments will be for sale. A luncheon will be served downstairs in the Parish House, 10 Union St., Milford.

Village Christmas

Just a little more than a week remains before six historic homes in Amherst open their doors for “Christmas in Amherst Village.” There is still time to order tickets at the reduced price of $25. Tickets on Saturday, Dec. 4, will be $30. Visitors can stroll through the historic village and admire beautiful homes decorated for the holidays. Last year’s tour was sold out; this year six different homes are open to the public. A luncheon prepared by Moulton’s will be served in the church Community Room. The $8 meal must be preordered.

The tour is open from 10 a.m. -4 p.m. on Dec. 4 and will be held rain or shine. Complimentary shuttle service will be available between the homes. Purchase tickets today by calling the Amherst Congregational Church office at 673-3231, stopping by the second floor office at 11 Church St., or by visiting

Holiday gift baskets

The Amherst Lions Club recently donated $1,000 to the Amherst Junior Women’s Club to be used in the annual holiday gift baskets project. The AJWC Home Life Committee works in conjunction with several different community resources to help provide a happier holiday for those encountering financial difficulties. Through donations from local merchants and organizations like the Lions club, groceries are collected and delivered to Amherst families in December to help fill pantries and help complete holiday meals. If you would like to donate, contact Tori McGregor at 672-0608, Gina Kunesh at 672-8967 or Rachel Ring at 672-7040.

Bookshop news

New Hampshire author and poet Marie Harris will sign her latest children’s book, “Primary Numbers,” at the Toadstool Bookshop from 3:30-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 2. Harris has created a “New Hampshire Number Book” that features the history, wildlife and events of the state. The book is illustrated by New Hampshire artist Karen Holman. Harris is a former poet laureate of the state and the author of several volumes of poetry and the children’s picture book “G is for Granite: A New Hampshire Alphabet.”

Also at the Toadstool, author and illustrator Ruth Sanderson will sign her new children’s book, “The Snow Princess,” at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. Sanderson’s story is based on the tale from a Russian opera, which tells the story of the snow princess who is the “daughter of Father Frost and Mother Spring.” Sanderson is also the author and illustrator of several other books, including “Cinderella,” “The Golden Mare,” “The Firebird,” “The Crystal Mountain,” “Pappa Gatto” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.”

These events are free and open to the public. The Toadstool Bookshop is at 586 Nashua St., Milford. For more information, call 673-1734 or visit

Holiday vacation camp

Hampshire Hills Sports & Fitness Club will offer a holiday vacation camp for children in kindergarten-sixth grade from 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Dec. 27-31. Activities at the camp will include swimming, wall climbing, sports, games and indoor fun. Before- and after-program care is also available. The cost is $28 a day for members and $50 for nonmembers.

Also during vacation week, the club will offer swim lessons. Children can take a half-hour lesson every day, Monday-Friday, Dec. 27-31. Lesson times will vary. The cost is $35 for members; $55 for nonmembers. Hampshire Hills is at 50 Emerson Road, Milford. For more information, call 673-7123, Ext. 272.

Holiday fairs

– The Milford Middle School enrichment program will sponsor a craft fair at the Town Hall on Saturday, Dec. 4. Tables can be reserved for $25 by contacting Joan Dargie at 672-5336 or A Belgian waffle breakfast will be held from 9-11 a.m. in the banquet hall. For lunch, homemade soups, chili and stew will be available, in addition to baked goods. Crafts made by MMS students in the service course “Elves Workshop” will also be offered for sale.

– The Amherst Lions will hold their 24th annual craft fair from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the Amherst Middle School on Cross Road. This juried craft fair features more than 100 craftspeople from all over New England. Parking and admission are free. Tables are still available. For more information, call Edna Leatherman at 673-3450.

– The Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Milford will host its annual holiday craft fair and cafe from 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4, at the stone church off the Oval. In addition to a hot breakfast and lunch, the fair features gingerbread houses and kits, baked goods, handcrafted ornaments, decorations, gifts, fresh wreaths and holiday greens and supervised children’s activities. The church is at 20 Elm St. in Milford.

– The 28th annual Pine Hill holiday fair will be held from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. On Friday, Dec. 3, from 7-9:30 p.m., there will be a craft preview sale for adults only. Pine Hill is on Abbot Hill Road, Wilton.

– The Church of Our Savior will hold its Christmas fair from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. Visit the snowy village, the children’s room with gingerbread houses to decorate, the “Country Store,” “Cookie Shoppe,” “Craft Shoppe” and the outreach room. The Village Cafe will serve lunch. The church is at 10 Amherst St., Milford.

Short notes

– The Souhegan Valley and Nashua Area Interfaith Council will continue its 2004 series “To Hear How Others Pray” with a presentation on Sikhism from 7-9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30. This program will be held at the Tree of Life Interfaith Fellowship, 18 Middle St., Milford. For more information, call Stephanie Rutt at 672-3406.

– Milford Boy Scout Troop 407 will offer Christmas tree removal on two dates: Tuesday, Dec. 28, and Saturday, Jan. 8. Members of the troop will come to area residents’ homes to remove the Christmas tree from the yard on the date of one’s choice for a donation. This offer is limited to Milford and Amherst residents only. To place a request, call Pam McKinney at 673-8985 or e-mail with name, address, phone number and date preference.

– Peabody Mill Environmental Center volunteers will lead a full moon hike at 7 p.m. Friday. Registration is required. The hike will be canceled in the event of rain. The cost is $2 per person, $5 per family.

The PMEC is at the end of Brook Road, Amherst. For more information, call 673-1141, or visit www.pmec .org.

– The Greater Milford Youth Task Force will meet from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, at the Milford Town Hall Banquet Room (use the Middle Street entrance).

Pizza and beverages will be provided. Interested community members from all towns are encouraged to attend. For more information, contact Milford Middle School enrichment program director Libby Wehrle-Anderson at 672-9876 or

– The Milford High School student services department will hold a “Financial Aid Night” for seniors and their parents at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9. For more information, call the high school at 673-4201, Ext. 1.

– AARP is looking for local volunteers in the Souhegan Valley area to prepare tax returns for middle- to low-income area residents, with special attention to those age 60 or older. This service is offered from Feb. 1-April 15 at local libraries and senior centers. Adult volunteers of all ages and backgrounds are welcome and are needed for Amherst, Greenville, Milford and Wilton. Tax counselors receive free training and become IRS certified by passing an IRS exam. To learn more about the AARP Tax-Aide program, or to volunteer, call Kaye Heffernan at 882-8736.