Boothbay Region Garden Club

Get into the holiday spirit at BRGC Holiday Festival

Wed, 11/22/2023 - 10:00am

Story Location:
32 Emery Lane
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538
United States

    The sounds of Celtic Christmas music, including fiddles, flutes, mandolins, Uilleann pipes, and harps, will fill the air at Boothbay Region Garden Club’s Holiday Festival.

    The annual festival will be held for a second year at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, 32 Emery Lane, Boothbay Harbor, Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2. Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., shoppers will find handmade holiday gifts, décor, food, sweets and Christmas trees.

    As you enter St. Columba’s, there the trees will be. Irene Fowle is head elf for this shop, which will feature 2’ - 6’, theme-decorated trees. Last year, 30 trees were bought and decorated by club members. Fowle said so far themes she was aware of included Mahjong, angels, lobster, the old/new Maine flag, and nature trees adorned with shells and pine cones.

    “Members make them at home so we never know what we will get,” Fowle said. “Last year we had no idea we would have a Ukraine-themed tree. It’s whatever the members want to do. This year, Seawicks has donated a tree full of their candles.”

    On the subject of trees, the Gift Certificate Tree is adorned with discounts donated by local businesses.

    BRGC members have been making themed gift baskets wrapped and ready to go! Each member decides on their theme. Last year’s included cookie baking baskets, tea baskets, baby, pet, gardening, reading, and one with snowshoes!

    You may not be able to wrap one of the meals from the Dinner’s Ready shop for under the tree, but you could make an “ornament” of sorts to place on the tree of a recipient with a clue leading them straight to their own freezer! For the third consecutive year, precooked meals for four (or two, depending on serving size) will be back. Garden Club members have been cooking and freezing since September. Each meal – soups, Brunswick stew, goulash, chicken with artichoke hearts, beef stew, vegan, and many more – are frozen flat, making it easy to store in your freezer. All ingredients are listed on the outside of each freezer bag. Just warm them up and serve. Perfect for those nights when you have been gift shopping or decking your halls and are too tired to prepare a meal.

    “They’re awesome. These ladies are such great cooks,” Linda Bonin said. “We all make what we want. Last year a couple bought five as gifts. The first time I brought one home, we had a meal for two evenings. Pea soup and the chicken with artichoke hearts were very popular last year. I’m going to put some artichoke hearts in my lemon chicken so we have more.”

    Speaking of food, and for those times you are not too tired to cook (or bake), BRGC has a new cookbook, with a comb binding, featuring almost 100 recipes contributed by members. There are a couple of things different about this cookbook: attribution of each recipe is included, and comments from the “original” baker or chef. Many are family recipes handed down through the generations. For example, a Susan Stapleton recipe comment reads: “Actual recipe from Aunt Bridie McClintock, 1972: According to Irish folklore, the criss-cross in the dough discourages the mischievous fairies from messing with your humble loaf of bread.” Other comments included “Made with love for Don every Sunday morning;” and “This recipe was not to be shared until May died.”

    Nature’s Gifts features the talents of six crafters who have been making gift items for the Holiday Festival every Tuesday since May. “We made Fairy Houses in Gloria Wakefield’s crafting room after foraging parties for oak moss, bark, shells, holly,” Abbie  Shaw said. “We have bird houses and baths, Christmas ornaments, terrariums, concrete leaf stepping stones, wreaths and swags. We’ve had some really talented people this year. We have some beautiful things – and we’re not done.”

    The Sweet Shop has more than enough temptations! Chief elves here are Shelly Maher and Sandra Seifert. There are snow cones (hot chocolate powder bagged in the shape of an ice cream cone with mini marshmallows on top) – a delightful gift for all ages! Candies, fudge, cookies, pies, cakes will also be there, so better break out those exercise DVDs!

    Comfort & Joy, formerly Etc.: When you think of this shop, think pampering; items that are soothing, warming and make you feel good, like scarves, bath salts, candles and aprons. And from the “joy department,” there is jewelry, unusual Christmas ornaments and décor, plant stakes and more.

    Deck the Halls, formerly Table & Mantle, headed up by elves Rosann Bourassa and Julie Krug, offers organic, natural décor from oyster shells, napkins and potholders and aprons with the Maine flag; dried oranges and cinnamon garland, and painted glassware.

    The Holiday Festival helps support BRGC’s mission: To promote interest in the art and practice of gardening, horticultural education and the beautification of the Boothbay Region. The Club provides scholarships to graduating seniors interested in horticultural, conservation studies to the tune of $3,000 for four years; $5,000 for children to attend Camp Knickerbocker, and $1,000 in support of Boothbay Sea and Science Center. BRGC maintains the Armillary Garden and the garden around the Civil War monument, and the Blue Star Memorial; window boxes and wreath-hanging at public buildings; plan activities for Gregory Wing residents of St. Andrews; offer help planting vegetable or flower gardens at local schools ( recently, the Edgecomb Eddy Pollination Garden and Southport Central School’s Butterfly Garden); finally, BRGC organizes the annual summer Home & Garden tour.

    For more information visit