Kick off the holiday season with one of Riverhead's most beloved annual events -- and take a glimpse into the tastes and traditions of yesteryear.
On Sunday, the Hallockville Museum Farm will host “Christmas at Hallockville,” an annual family event that celebrates the spirit of the holidays, from noon to 3:30 p.m.
Visitors will move from house to house, experiencing the sights, sounds, and tastes of the season as they make their way across the museum campus. The 1765 Hallock Homestead house will be decorated in Victorian-period seasonal decor, and the Depression-era Cichanowicz Farmhouse will be decorated in 1930’s Polish-American style.
Festivities include live piano music and Polish-language Christmas carols at the Cichanowicz House, as well as traditional babka and other holiday decorations.
Two rooms will be devoted to the Christmas Eve preparations typical of the period, and the other rooms devoted to the Christmas Day experience.
“It reminds me of Christmas when I was a small child and this is a great way to keep the traditions alive for the next generation of Polish-Americans,” Carol Grzywinksi, Hallockville Board President, said.
Meanwhile, the 1834 Hudson-Sydlowski house will be a one-stop seasonal emporium, with both Miss Ella’s Shop and a bake shop and café.
Miss Ella’s will feature a selection of handmade and local crafts, stationery, books, educational children’s games and toys, and gifts for all ages. The bake shop and café will be serving homemade baked goods, as well packaged baked goods for gift-giving.
Local farmers will have Christmas greens, late-season vegetables and apple cider available for purchase.
All proceeds from Miss Ella’s and the bake shop will support Hallockville’s non-profit educational programming.
At the Hallock Homestead house, the oldest structure at the museum, live music and caroling will take place, courtesy of the East End Arts adult chorus. Mince meat pies will be baked in the wood stove, along with apple cider and cocoa.
Children will have the opportunity to participate in the baking, make crafts and enjoy antique toy exhibits.
“‘Christmas at Hallockville’ shows visitors how the holiday used to be celebrated on Eastern Long Island with the focus on family traditions, music and merriment, without the commercial trappings of what clutters present-day celebrations,” Herb Strobel, Executive Director of the museum farm, said.
Each year, a highlight of the day is a visit from Santa Claus, who arrives at Hallockville in a 1939 Ford pickup.
The special exhibit “Pages from Her Diary: the 1883 Courtship and Marriage of Henrietta Terry” will also be open for viewing, which chronicles a wedding that took place on Christmas Day during the blizzard of 1883.
Admission to the "Christmas at Hallockville" event is $8 for adults and $4 for children ages 6-12; free admission for children under six. A family pass cost $18. Proceeds support the non-profit museum. Admission includes house tours and activities. Tickets may be purchased in advance by clicking here.