Holiday Cheer at Canterbury Shaker Village

The Village is offering several family-friendly events to get everyone in the seasonal spirit
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Canterbury Shaker Village presents the world premiere performance of “Birdie,” the first holiday “Entertainment” produced at the Village in nearly 90 years.

In the blink of an eye, scenes of pumpkins and autumn leaves will fade into green trees and snowmen and candy canes. To get into the holiday spirit, check out one (or more) of Canterbury Shaker Village’s seasonal events.

Holiday Open House

Starting the day after Thanksgiving, Shaker Village will host a Holiday Open House featuring tours, shopping and delicious warm sips. The open house is open from Nov. 26 – Nov. 28 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

As you pick out the perfect handmade gifts for loved ones, you’ll be delighted to know that the Village Store is offering complimentary gift wrapping each day of the event. Your Shaker box, book, soothing candle, jar of local honey or maple syrup, precious handmade toy or other item will be wrapped and ready to put a smile on its recipient’s face at the end of the month.

Looking for a more in-depth perspective of this historic village? Consider signing up for a “Shaker Stories” guided tour, which run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Merry Merry Canterbury

Need a little bit longer to get your holiday cheer up? The Village is also hosting several “Merry Merry Canterbury” weekends full of fun festivities. On Dec. 11 – 12 and 18 – 19, check out magic shows, “a world premiere dance performance,” Canterbury Singers-led caroling, kids’ crafts and more.

Both weekends will feature a “Stairway to the Clouds” event in the Horse Barn. Two magic shows by Magician Andrew Pinard will complement the first weekend, and the world premiere performance of “Birdie” will be offered on the second weekend.

Dance-Artist-In-Residence Lorraine Chapman, inspired by the story of the last girl raised by the Canterbury Shakers, created “Birdie” with a group of six dancer-performers after diving into the Village’s rich archives. The piece harkens back to the beloved “Entertainments” produced by the Shakers, which included reading, reciting, singing, playing instruments, and performing scenes from plays. “Birdie” is the first holiday “Entertainment” produced at the Village in nearly 90 years.

“Birdie” touches upon the story of Alberta MacMillan Kirkpatrick, who, after her mother’s death, lived in foster homes before arriving at Canterbury Shaker Village at the age of 11. Sister Marguerite Frost, who became Alberta’s “Shaker Mother,” welcomed the child with an embrace that was Alberta’s first hug in four years. Chapman’s work reflects this simple gift of immeasurable kindness that filled the young girl’s heart with love and hope. Alberta lived the next seven years in the caring and compassionate community of Canterbury where Sister Marguerite affectionately called her “Birdie.”

Admission to Merry Merry Canterbury is complimentary for youth, $15 for members and $20 for adults. It includes all events except the Candlelight Tours. All visitors must be fully vaccinated and mask-wearing will be required.

Candlelight Tours

Making their anticipated return this year are the Village’s lovely Candlelight Tours, which will be offered at 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Dec. 18 and 19. These special evening tours will take guests through the Dwelling House and the Meeting House and will talk about how the Shakers celebrated the holiday season. Tickets must be reserved in advance and are $50 per person.


Categories: Family-friendly things to do, Holiday Guide Events