Let the holidays begin — festivities begin Dec. 1

On Friday

What do train sets, apple cider, strings of colored lights, music, an auction and fishing all have in common?

They are just a few things to look for in the wide array of events starting Thursday to kick off the month of December.

Festivities traditionally begin Thursday, Dec. 1, with the Annual Old-Fashioned Holiday Celebration, 5 – 8 p.m., at the San Juan Historical Museum, 405 Price St. Phil Mayer will be back with the winter wonderland train set—a delight. Enjoy calorie packed goodies galore, world famous Ivar’s clam chowder, chili, piping hot apple cider, and traditional caroling with Kirk Fuhrmeister and friends’ classic sing-a-long.

“We have a fascinating history here and our museum showcases that well, thanks to the support of the community,” said Kevin Loftus, director of the San Juan Historical Museum. “Our intent is to harken back to a simpler time, and what better place to do that than at the museum grounds, in and amongst our heritage buildings. The setting lends itself well to celebrating the season with friends and neighbors.”

For info, call 378-3949 or visit www.sjmuseum.org or www.historicsanjuans.org.

On Friday, Dec. 2, the Chamber of Commerce Christmas Decorating Contest winners will be announced and prizes will be awarded at the Tree Lighting Ceremony, 6:30 p.m., Memorial Park. For more info, call 378-5240.

The Resurrection Derby with weigh-ins at Friday Harbor Seafood from noon to 4 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 – 3. 100 boats from across the Northwest will be fishing for $10,000 first prize. For more info, visit www.resurrectionderby.com.

Also this weekend, Friday, Dec 2 – Dec. 3, islanders Holiday Craft Bazaar, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Grange Hall. Handcrafted items, Xmas gifts, baked goods, rugs, aprons, cards, ornaments and more.

There is also a “Holiday Sale” of 8-12 vendors on Dec. 3, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., in the Tucker Building on Tucker St.

“We’re just trying out something new with crafters you might not know,” said Francie Hanson, one of the organizers. “We also hope to have younger kids sell their crafts.”

Any profits from purchased treats at the sale go toward the Friday Harbor Food Bank.

On Dec. 3, the Northwest’s celebrity showman John Curley brings back his electrifying auctioneering skills to San Juan Community Theatre’s fundraiser of the year – the Holiday Festival 2011: A Touch of Magic.

Curley, who hosts a weeknight radio talk show on Seattle’s KIRO-FM, is the former host of King-5 Evening Magazine and has been an auctioneer for several years.”

“I had an absolute ball—even though I tore the seat right out of my pants,” said Curley.  “I’ve got a few more tricks up my sleeve for this year, including 100 dollar bill bits glued to my forehead.  I can’t wait to come back to see everyone!”

The festival also features fine wine, gourmet appetizers and live cooking supper stations, live auction items, a “balloon-popping” raffle and live music.

“This is an evening aimed at celebrating the season with island friends,” said Festival Chairman David Bayley.   “And while this will be one incredible, unforgettable party, it is also a wonderful way to help our Theatre.”

Electronic catalogs of the live and silent auction items are available online at  www.sjctheatre.org

Tickets — $85 per person — are available. For more info, call 378-3211, ext. 32.