The Music Hall + Strawbery Banke Museum Present
Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth The Entire Month of December 2013
“Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Christmas Capital of America?”- Travel and Leisure
Vintage Christmas Updates
It may be Summer in New England, but it’s time to Save the Date and make plans now for the perfect holiday visit during Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth December 2013, presented by cultural anchors Strawbery Banke Museum and The Music Hall. And, it all takes place in the historic working seaport of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Now in its ninth year, Vintage Christmas in Portsmouth will once again offer the irresistible Candlelight Stroll that Strawbery Banke Museum has offered for 34 years, and the live holiday shows, opera broadcasts and films in The Music Hall’s landmark Historic Theater and the intimate Music Hall Loft on Congress Street, in this elegant and delightful holiday downtown. Get ready to cuddle up with a free trolley ride through red-bricked Market Square, stroll through the snowflakes to the many eclectic shops, step back in time through living history at the festively decorated Strawbery Banke Museum, sample Portsmouth’s famous culinary specialties, or enjoy a first-class show at The Music Hall. Back by popular demand – the free Vintage Christmas Trolley shuttles patrons around the historic seaport each Saturday and Sunday afternoon and evening for the first three weekends in December.
The Music Hall will be featuring wonderful holiday fare on its two stages – starting off with the popular Leahy Family Christmas, moving into Ragpickers Dream in the intimate setting of the Loft, Messiah Sing “happening” with Seacoast choral groups, Creole Christmas with Preservation Hall Jazz Band and rounding out the year with Juston McKinney’s Last Laugh 2013. Watch for announcements of films, HD broadcasts and the newly enhanced Historical Tour.
According to Patricia Lynch, executive director of The Music Hall, “Portsmouth is the perfect town for Vintage Christmas since it’s a charming blend of the contemporary and historical. It’s all about celebrating the winter, the warmth, the light, and our collective memories of holidays past. Culture, history, food – it’s an intoxicating mix!”
Joining the two nonprofits this year will be Presenting Sponsors: the City of Portsmouth; Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce; Pickwick’s Mercantile and Seacoast Media Group. Lead Sponsors include: Construction Services of NH; J. Hilburn Men’s Custom Shirts & Apparel; Port Inn; Riverwoods at Exeter; TMS Architects; Troiano Wealth Advisory; Seacoast Local, Discover Portsmouth Center and Z107 FM. Three Community Partners will be joining in the celebration with shows at The Music Hall’s Historic Theater: Patrick Dorow Productions, which produces Home for the Holidays – A Seacoast Musical Celebration, Great Bay Academy of Dance, which produces An 1836 Portsmouth Nutcracker, and Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra (PSO), which produces Family Holiday Pops. Home for the Holidays will appear on December 6 and The Nutcracker has several shows including abbreviated “nutshell” shows for children spanning December 13-15, while PSO will do two shows – one with the Sandpipers Seacoast Children’s Chorus on the December 17 and the second with the York High School Chamber Singers on December 19.
The City is a great sponsor for Vintage Christmas, according to Kathleen Soldati from The Music Hall, “The City sponsors the free trolley, coordinates the illuminated parade and ceremonial tree lighting, decorates the Welcome to Portsmouth signs and period streetlights with large wreaths, and collaborates with ProPortsmouth on making First Night (New Year’s Eve) a spectacular evening in the city (ice sculpture, fireworks, live music). Finally, the library and recreation department have holiday programs.”
Portsmouth was just described by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the nation’s most kid-friendly, walkable, food-centric, historic, livable and romantic cities. On any East Coast car trip, a charming little must.” As a reporter from the venerable Yankee Magazine has said, “If another city does a better job of celebrating Christmas, I have yet to find it.” According to Stephanie Seacord, Director of Marketing at Strawbery Banke Museum, “Portsmouth is an enchanted village. And, the city can now add a new title to its list of many accomplishments thanks to an article published in Travel and Leisure magazine titled, “Portsmouth, New Hampshire: Christmas Capital of America?”
Seacoast historian J. Dennis Robinson ruminates on the meaning of the celebration, “The purpose of any holiday is ‘stopfulness’ — to stop, look around, and be aware. Out of that momentary awareness comes a healing and spiritual connection. We are ‘in the moment.’ We recognize that we are alive, and that our lives are short. …We compare our history against the history of others. Through the holiday tradition of giving presents, we become charitable. By receiving them, we become thankful. The pause is the gift.”