Royalston celebrating holidays in South Village

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 11/25/2021 4:22:17 PM
Modified: 11/25/2021 4:22:13 PM

ROYALSTON — Families in and around Royalston will be able to celebrate the upcoming holiday season with a pair of events, one in South Village, the other on the Town Common.

The annual South Village tree lighting is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4. The event is sponsored by the Royalston South Village Revitalization Committee.

The South Village tree lighting will be followed a week later by the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony in Royalston Center; this event sponsored by the Royalston Cultural Council.

Teresa Valliere, secretary of the Cultural Council, said the committee has been organizing a tree lighting for a number of years, except for 2020. This year, the event takes place beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10.

“We obviously didn’t do one last year, although they did do one in the South Village,” she said. “We just put up the tree and lit it. We didn’t have a ceremony.”

This year’s event features Santa riding in on his fire truck, caroling, a wreath sale, chowder, cookies, s’mores, and more, said Valliere, “Santa always comes, and we usually have hot chocolate and goodies for the kids to eat. There’s some caroling, and this year the First Congregational Church here in the center is sponsoring the chowder. So, we’re going to have bowls of chowder for the first time.

“The event hall at the Congregational Church, but it’s fairly small. We also have the Town Hall, so, between the two event halls, we should have enough indoor seating, I think, to kind of space people out. And then, as long as it’s not frigid outside, I think people will be milling around outside. So, there’s plenty of space if people feel like they need to social distance. And the chowder will be served right out of the kitchen that adjoins the hall.

“The Fire Department — they’re the ones who are bringing Santa — but they’re also going to do a couple of fire pits, so people can just kind of mill around outside if it’s warm enough,” added Valliere.

She also said there would be entertainment.

“We have the Athol Congregational Church bell ringers,” she said. “So, we’ll have some nice music.”

She added that a children’s choir from Northfield, associated with St. Thomas Aquinas College, would also entertain.

“So, there’s going to be Christmas music and some sing-along caroling.”

The wreaths for sale are being made by local craftsman Michael Adams. Proceeds will benefit groups in Royalston and Athol.

Asked about the height of the tree being lit, Valliere said, with a slight chuckle, “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we can find the biggest tree possible, given the rumors that Christmas tree hunting is going to be sparse.”

She said the tree has typically been placed in a corner right in front of the Town Hall, but this year they’re hoping to put it in the small triangle where Route 68 and Athol Road diverge.

“So,” she said, “they’re trying to rig up the electricity to get it right there, in a new spot.”

The South Village Tree Lighting will take place at the gazebo in South Royalston, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 4. Santa and his fire truck will also be making a stop at this venue, where visitors can enjoy hot chocolate and cookies. There will also be caroling, memory ornaments for sale, a 120 drawing and more. In addition to the South Village Revitalization Committee, the event is sponsored by the Royalston Arts Council.

Greg Vine can be reached at

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