The ice might have delayed holiday events on the Square, but Santa is still coming to town tonight to celebrate and drink some wassail.
Wassail Fest will begin at 5:30 p.m. tonight, with nearly 40 merchants around the Courthouse on the Square offering up their favorite recipes for shoppers, who will then vote for their favorite ones.
Downtown merchants will also be unveiling new, extended store hours for the rest of the shopping season, and they are hoping the festivities will bring shoppers back to the Square after days of bad weather.
“Wassail Fest is in full gear; nothing has been scaled down on Wassail,” said Claire Amano, chairwoman of the event and owner of Serendipity on the Square. “Actually, we’ve had more merchants join in since we rescheduled.”
The 15th annual event was rescheduled after the Denton Holiday Lighting Festival canceled its events last week because of inclement weather. The lighting festival will have a small tree-lighting ceremony during Wassail Fest at 6 p.m. on the Locust Street side of the courthouse lawn, said Micah Pazoureck, co-chairwoman of the Denton Holiday Festival Association.
The association will still have a booth set up for ornaments and a truck for toy donations, and Santa will meet and greet children. There will be two vocal performances before the lighting.
“Unfortunately, there is no way with permits and all of the logistics it takes to put on the full festival to have vendors, stages, horse wagons and so on,” Pazoureck said in an e-mail. “The committee is sad about the circumstances because they put so much work into the event all year long, but they hope that people will come enjoy the wassail, donate a new toy and get in the spirit of the season.”
Amano said she is prepared with more wassail — hot cider — than last year.
“I’m hearing enthusiastic stuff, and I’m going to make all of the wassail I can,” she said. “I don’t know why the good people of Denton go from store, to store, to store, to taste wassail, but I love it. It’s just another one of those quirky things we do in Denton.”
After tonight’s events, she and others in the Denton Main Street Association have extended hours for holiday shopping at their stores to help make up for losses last weekend because of the weather.
Stores including Serendipity, Garden Gate, the Courthouse Collection, County Seat and La Di Da will stay open until 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and will be open on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.