THOMASTON—The Watts Hall Community Players tried something new this year, providing the space at Watts Hall for an event that connects back to Nature during the Christmas holidays.
The 2022 Evergreen Extravaganza, Merry Mannequins event invited 13 contestants to adorn mannequins with evergreen boughs, winter greenery, and other embellishments. It took the teams four-to-five hours to assemble the outfits, an ephemeral exercise that could only be enjoyed in one day, as evergreen boughs were not allowed to remain in the building as a potential fire hazard. Multiple photographers were on hand to capture the event from the assembly to the final result.
Brae Maple Farm Master Gardener Volunteers won the People’s Choice Award for their evergreen mannequin, which looked straight out of Fairie Magazine, with a bodice made from birch, a lush, evergreen skirt, pine cones, dried hydrangea, and pheasant feather plumage.
“There were two dresses that were forest-based in the materials they used, but I think what gave the edge to the winner was that headpiece,” said Daryl Hahn, a co-organizer of the event.
The second winner was Georgene Arbour, who also provided a forest-themed dress for the mannequin.
“It was merry and bright,” said co-organizer, Sheilagh Guyer.
“When we saw some of the names on the list who’d been invited, we knew we were going to have something special,” said Hahn. “They are very talented people, but it far exceeded our expectations—the work was fabulous.”
There was one mannequin that wasn’t designed as a dress, but rather as a woodland creature by Nancy Lloyd.
Admission was by donation. More than 150 people went through Watts Hall to look at the Merry Mannequins.
“Honestly, since it’s a new and different event, we would have been pleased if only 25 people showed up,” said Hahn.
The public reaction was more than they anticipated.
“People were enthralled and enchanted,” said Hahn. “Everything about it ended up being extraordinary.”
Even though the Merry Mannequins had to be disassembled that day, four of them ended up at various locations in Thomaston. One, made by Annie Bailey, Jacinda Martinez, Korina Buozys, and Ellery Kemp is at Flaura, the flower, wine, and gift store. Another is at the Thomaston Public Library (made by the librarians and the other by Nancy Lloyd). And second-place winner, Georgena Arbour’s forest dress is at Weskeag Farms.
The event raised $700. All proceeds from this event went towards the Energy Assistance Program through AIO, helping to keep our communities warm this winter.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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