This coming Saturday, the first of December, is a day full of Christmas activities in our town. Santa and Mrs. Claus kick off the festivities when they arrive in downtown Essex in a horse drawn carriage at 9:15 a.m. Follow them up to the fire house for the traditional free pancake breakfast and having fortified yourself, head back downtown. Artists and vendors will be at the Adirondack Art Association gallery all day, offering paintings, crafts, baked goods and Christmas decorations. The Holiday Photo Booth at the Essex Ice Cream Café will operate from 9:30 a.m.to 4 p.m., and don’t forget to stop by the library to inspect and bid on the silent auction goodies. Lunch and dinner can be had at the Essex Inn, and lots of other shops will be open as well. Lunch is also available at the Essex Community Church, where a bazaar will be held. Do take a short ride out to the cultural capital of Essex County, Whallonsburg, where there will be a bazaar at the Grange Hall, also with lunch. The Reindeer Run takes place at 12:45 p.m. from Live Well on Main Street. This is actually two fun runs, one for kids and the other for adults; antlers are optional. A cookie contest takes place at 2 p.m. at the ice cream café, with entries accepted up to 1:45. Steven Kellogg will read a Truman Capote Christmas story at the library at 4 p.m., and the town tree will be lit at 5:15 p.m. Finally, the film society presents “Monsieur Lazhar” at 8 at the Grange. This is a Canadian movie that was nominated for an Oscar this year, and has gotten a great response from the critics, who call it “enthralling” and “exhilarating”. The film society hits another home run.
This week I’ve been imposing on my children’s hospitality in Austin, Texas, although I make myself scarce during the day, mostly by exploring Austin’s numerous public swimming holes. My favorite is called Barton Springs, a long spring-fed pool with lawns going down to the water, which stays at a steady 70 degrees year round. It’s easy to kill an afternoon by reading in the shade of overhanging oaks, and then taking a dip to cool off. Napping seems to follow with no effort.