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Countdown is on to Wassail Fest festivities


Sonja Malone, left, and Jill Mann taste and record their votes for their favorite homemade wassail during Columbus' 2014 Wassail Fest.

Sonja Malone, left, and Jill Mann taste and record their votes for their favorite homemade wassail during Columbus' 2014 Wassail Fest. Photo by: Luisa Porter/Dispatch file photo


Jan Swoope



The week ahead ushers in the Christmas season in earnest. Just four days after Monday's official lighting of Columbus' community Christmas tree near the Riverwalk, Wassail Fest will draw hundreds of merrymakers to the historic downtown district. On Friday, Dec. 1 nearly two dozen merchants will compete for Wassail Meister bragging rights from 5-8 p.m.  


Wassail Fest, now in its 14th year, features live music, holiday activities, in-store demonstrations and door prizes for guests. Wassail-makers will vie for the People's Choice award. The winner will be determined by shoppers who cast their votes.  


Wassail is traditionally a hot, mulled punch often associated with Merry Olde England and Yuletide. The mixture of juices and spices has been served throughout centuries, as far back as Robin Hood and his merry men, said Barbara Bigelow, executive director of Main Street Columbus. Downtown Columbus wassail-makers go to great lengths to prepare their special recipes for guests. 


The W will partner again this year with Main Street Columbus, serving wassail at their mobile CHEW trailer, although they will not be in the merchants' competition. 


Music is an essential part of the holidays. The Columbus Choral Society will perform throughout the evening at Leadership Plaza, at the corner of Fifth Street South and College Street. The Harmony GRITS quartet will stroll the streets performing Christmas carols. 


"Wassail Fest is a festive event that the downtown merchants and their customers look forward to each year," said Bigelow. "It is a great time to come downtown, do some Christmas shopping, sample delicious wassail, be a part of selecting the 2017 Wassail Meister, dine in one of our great downtown restaurants and just enjoy the season.  


"Main Street is very appreciative of our sponsors, The W, Dex Imaging, Zachary's and Visit Columbus, for their support this year." 


Wassail Fest has been selected as a Top 20 Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Association for two consecutive years.  


"Come join Main Street Columbus, downtown merchants, The W and the Wassail Fest sponsors for this festive evening and make a memory not to be forgotten," Bigelow said.  


For more information, contact Main Street Columbus, 662-328-6305.


Jan Swoope is the Lifestyles Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.


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