- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The holidays in North Beach are going to be jollier than ever this year. On Saturday, Dec. 1, in addition to the town’s traditional Santa parade — dedicated this year to the memory of Pat Carpenter — 7th Street will be turned into a playground of holiday fun. Jollyfest, a festival of art, food, music, antiques and all-around merriment, has been planned and organized by the merchants whose shops and restaurants are in the North Beach business loop.
This is the town’s business section, which stretches from Bay Avenue to the boardwalk and 7th Street. Within these downtown blocks are the area’s retail shops, including gift shops, a restaurant, a wine shop, an antique emporium, an art gallery, a clothing store and two bakery cafes. In addition to the local shops, more than 30 vendors are bringing their holiday best for the festival. No Christmas holiday festival would be complete without greenery and wreaths, which will be supplied by the Greenstreet Nursery.
The vendors are all local Southern Maryland business people. Among the mix are artist-crafters with unusual handmade gifts, and there’ll also be lots of edible goodies for sale. All the food and confectionary shops in the North Beach loop, from Chesapeake Avenue over to Bay Avenue and on 7th Street, are participating, so there’ll be no shortage of tempting treats available all afternoon. Friday’s Creek Winery and the Olde Bay Tavern will be on site with hot food and drink, to chase the winter chills away.
Many local musicians are contributing their talents to spread nonstop good cheer. Deanna Dove, a well-known favorite performer, will be performing and also is coordinating all the musical entertainment. The cast of Twin Beach Players’ production of “A Christmas Carol,” will be strolling through the streets in character, and in their period costumes. The actors for this live holiday production are the children’s troupe of the Twin Beach Players, so expect great enthusiasm from these young cast members, who love interacting with the festival goers.
North Beach’s holiday parade brings Santa and Mrs. Claus to set up shop on the boardwalk for the afternoon, to meet and discuss gift wishes with the county’s smallest residents. The parade starts at noon. Jollyfest opens on 7th Street at noon and continues until 5 p.m. Parade and Jollyfest attendees will get to see all the town’s Christmas lights turn on at dusk, which falls at about 4 p.m. these days.
Celia Molofsky, one of Jollyfest’s organizers, is the proprietor of The Wheel Clothing Store on 7th Street. The store is housed in a former beach cottage that has been completely retrofitted, but has managed to keep its intrinsic charm. The store’s specialty is natural fiber apparel for women and men. The various shirts, T-shirts, sweatshirts, pants and scarves are of all-cotton or mixtures of cotton, bamboo, hemp, linen or silk.
Molofsky also stocks some bath towels and bed sheets in bamboo, but can’t keep them in stock. Once people feel the fabric, the linens go right out of the store. After feeling this material, it’s easy to see why. Bamboo is softer and silkier than silk, and needs no special care; most bamboo fabric is machine washable. A new line of women’s jackets in cotton or a fiber mix are handsome in black and white patterns or patchwork, and could be worn for almost any occasion. Cotton velvet vests and cotton brocade jackets for women are not only holiday-worthy stylish, but the natural fabrics are comfortable to wear. The men’s shirts are natural fiber fabrics in either solid colors or typical menswear patterns, many in the newly fashionable grey tones.
“I added men’s wear because there’s nowhere to buy men’s shirts between here and Annapolis except Walmart, and my prices are lower than Annapolis prices,” Molofsky said.
Molofsky also loves art and promotes local artists’ work in her store. Shelves hold jewelry and small decorative pieces made mostly from materials such as beach glass and semi-precious stones. Some of the stones are not even semi-precious, but ordinary glass worked and polished by the artists.
“You couldn’t call it costume jewelry. It’s more like small sculpture,” she said.
Molofsky is a career U.S. Army officer, now retired from active service. She first came to Calvert in the 1990s, where she owned a weekend home, and decided to move in permanently when she retired. When the prior business that had been in this space — Coffee, Tea and Whimsy — closed a couple of years ago, she bought the building. Molofsky has never run a retail operation before, but hey, she’s a U.S. Army officer, and can call on her considerable abilities, plus enthusiasm, to do a job and do it well.
She also loves art, loves the idea of combining so many good ideas with people working together. This past summer, she was instrumental in organizing a series of First Friday art exhibits that ran concurrently with the North Beach farmer’s market. For more information about Jollyfest or The Wheel Clothing Store, Molofsky can be reached at 410-286-0000.
For information about the Christmas parade, call the North Beach Town Hall at 301-855-6081, or go to the town website, www.north-beach.md.gov.