By Janet Serra

Posted: 10/31/2018 12:38:39

 Wilton's favorite train exhibit and a special puppet performance by Jim Napolitano from 2 pm to 3 pm kicks off the holiday season at the Wilton Historical Society on Saturday, November 25. For thousands of years, man has manipulated puppets for a variety of reasons: religion, education, and entertainment. One of the oldest and most wonderful forms of puppetry is shadow puppetry. People don't recognize Jim Napolitano even though he has been broadcast to millions of television sets nationwide. That's because he's a puppeteer. He's performed for the PBS show Between the Lions, Disney's The Book of Pooh and Nickelodeon in A Show of Hands. His puppetry has taken him across the country and around the globe. No charge.

The fun doesn't stop with the puppeteer the Great Trains Holiday Exhibit at the Wilton Historical Society opens Friday, November 25.  From 11:00 – 1:00 kids can paint a wooden train engine, perfect for use as an ornament. Art project fee: Members – $5 per child, max $15 per family; Non-members $10 per child, max $30 per family.

The much anticipated Great Trains Holiday Exhibit: An Interactive Wonderland will open the day after Thanksgiving, Friday, November 25 from 12 - 4. Dressed for the holidays, the Society's historic 18th and 19th-century buildings are transformed into a train-lovers delight with eight different train layouts winding through tiny towns with many different kinds of buildings, tunnels, cable cars, and two working Ferris Wheels! New this year: a Wilton-themed HO layout; expanded "O" gauge layout; and a working Lego train set. The interactive display enchants visitors of all ages with lots of buttons to push and knowledgeable "train engineers" on hand to "talk trains". In a special train room for the youngest guests, there are buttons galore plus Thomas the Tank Engine and a Brio set for hands-on fun.

The Great Trains Holiday Exhibit will run from Friday, November 25, 2018, through Monday, January 15, 2019, Wednesday – Saturday, 10-4; Sundays 12-4. Admission is free for adult members of the Society and children under 12.  For non-member adults, the cost is $10. Wilton Historical Society is on 224 Danbury Road/Route 7 in Wilton.   More information at www.wiltonhistorical.org

To add to the holiday fun, a gift customs and wrapping holiday gifts workshop for kids is being offered on Saturday, Dec. 2 from 11 am to 12:30 pm. and is perfect for kids 6-12 years old.  From reusable cloth still utilized in Japan, to today's decorative rolls of paper, the custom of covering a gift is a longstanding tradition in many cultures. According to the Atlantic "Upper-class Victorians regularly used elaborately decorated paper—along with ribbons and lace—to conceal gifts. In the early 20th century, thick, unwieldy paper gave way to tissue that would similarly work to conceal offerings until they were opened. The practice was echoed in a slightly more practical form by stores, which would wrap customers' purchases in sturdy manila papers." And how does one respond to all that giving? With a nicely written thank you note! Museum Educator Lola Chen will be discussing gift giving customs from wrappings to thank you notes, Boxing Day, and more. Potato stamping some wrapping paper or note card paper is the workshop project. The kids will help make their snack, Hasselback potatoes. Wilton Historical Society members $10 per child, maximum $25 per family; Non-members $15 per child, maximum $35 per family. Please register: info@wiltonhistorical.org or call 203-762-7257.

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