First Friday opens the Christmas season |

First Friday opens the Christmas season

John Colson
Amy Butowicz is one of many artists showing at the SAWliday Show at Studio for Arts and Works in Carbondale from 2-8 p.m. Saturday.
Contributed Photo |

CARBONDALE — As they have for decades, this town’s arts and business communities are joining together for the Christmas season to urge shoppers to “Shop local, shop Carbondale,” in the words of Chamber of Commerce Director Andrea Stewart.

The holiday shopping season kicks off with the Dec. 6 First Friday activities scheduled for today — and in some cases, continuing into Saturday — many of which are centered around the town-owned Third Street Center (TSC) for nonprofits and arts organizations, at the corner of South Third Street and Capital Avenue.

“As our registers sing, the business community stays vital and the sales tax goes back into our community to support a number of items, including our many events, parks and roads,” Stewart said of the ongoing campaign.

More personally, jewelry artist Natasha Seedorf spoke about how she feels when someone buys her art, noting, “It encourages me to make more work knowing that my pieces are out there being viewed and enjoyed. My work is unusual, it creates conversations, it allows the wearer and the viewer to interact in a way that might not otherwise be possible.”

Working together on promotion for the December First Friday events are the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities (CCAH), the Studio for Arts and Works (SAW), Whimsical Women of the Wild West, the Town of Carbondale and other entities. Many of the activities are focused around organization offices, galleries and meeting rooms at the Third Street Center.

Santa Claus will be meeting with local kinder at the TSC from 3-4:30 p.m., in the Round Room, and at 4 p.m. any local bikers who feel so inclined are invited to the Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities (CCAH) gallery to decorate their bikes for a parade to escort Santa into the center of town, according to Deborah Colley, CCAH operations manager.

The bicycle parade will escort Santa Claus from the TSC to a special tree-lighting ceremony at the U.S. Forest Service building, at Weant Boulevard and Main Street, scheduled for about 5:30 p.m. and is entitled, “Light Up Carbondale!”

Carolers from the Crystal River Elementary School Choir will provide musical accompaniment to the lighting ceremony, and Santa will be back at the TSC for further kid consultations from 6:15-8 p.m.

Also starting earlier in the day will be a holiday crafts show, from 3-8 p.m., displaying the works and wares of the Whimsical Women in the Calaway Room at the TSC, as well as the CCAH Deck The Walls Holiday Show. For more on the two shows, visit the CCAH website,, or call 970-963-1680

In keeping with the spirit of the season, the Carbondale Clay Center will hold its annual Cup Auction tonight, from 6-8 p.m., at the Clay Center, 135 Main St. More than 200 cups, donated by local and national artists, will be available for bids. At the same time, non-cup sales items and wares will be available in the ArtStream gallery outside the Center, termed “Carbondale’s only nomadic gallery” by the Clay Center management.

Hot chocolate will be served up at the Fourth Street Plaza, located at Fourth and Main streets, into the evening tonight.

Saturday fare

Activities on Saturday will include the annual Winterfaire festival at the Waldorf School, located on old Highway 82 west of Catherine Store, featuring craft activities for families, music and puppet performances, lunch and other treats, and a store for adults offering handmade and “Waldorf-inspired” gifts for purchase.

The SAW complex, ensconced in its new home at 525 Buggy Circle in Carbondale, will hold its annual holiday open house and art sale on Saturday from 2-8 p.m.

More than 20 SAW artists will open their studios to the public and have their works for sale, and two public tours of the facility are scheduled for 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. for those who wish to learn more about the organization and its mission.

Interested members of the public will be able to have their photos taken in the Airstream holiday photo booth, or on a steel pony, and a portion of all proceeds are to go to support SAW’s fellow arts facility, the Carbondale Clay Center.

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