On this date in 1814, an acre of land was donated by farmer George Blair for a new town square. (He also donated an additional adjoining 25 acres for the new county seat.)
He named his gift “Belleville,” which means “beautiful city” in French. There have been many significant events on the square, including speeches by two presidents and a nationally-renowned art festival. Things look very different 200 years later, but it’s still the heart of our town!
We’ve been to downtown Belleville twice now this season to look at the gingerbread houses…once at night, and once during the day, when we could some of them a little bit better. I’m always amazed by how creative and talented people are with gingerbread, frosting, and candies. One of these years, I’d like to enter, but then again, I know my abilities with gingerbread, and it doesn’t come close to any of these!
The Hobbit Home was the overwhelming family favorite. The details were amazing.
As amazing as that one is, it didn’t even win “Best in Show!” That award went to this very cool Bedrock creation:
This penguin one was also popular. I think we all had to do a double-take to realize it’s a surf shop!
This tree was also a favorite…we loved all of the animals!
Two different Nutcracker-themed creations!
You can tell which ones were submitted by the Girl Scouts…they usually have a camping them!
The details on this bistro were charming:
Another very detailed tree:
I always like the Belleville-themed ones a lot.
The Gingerbread Walk has become one of my favorite things to look forward to every year at Christmastime!
Last night, we went downtown for our city’s tree lighting.
It’s a charming event. It begins with a community sing, and I’m always rather impressed that people show up after a long day of shopping!
Even though the tree has been up and on downtown for the last week, there’s still something magical about that moment they flip the switch!
Still to come…details on the annual Gingerbread displays!
We were very lucky this year, because Art on the Square, one of the most-anticipated annual events in our household, just happened to fall on our wedding anniversary. As always, it was a fun way to spend the morning, walking around, and looking at all of the amazing art that fills our town square!
Even if it’s not something I would actually buy, I love looking at it all! There was jewelry:
Plus the more traditional wall art, of all kinds:
There was also a food court:
And a children’s area (we were there too early to actually make anything):
Of course, we visited our favorite artist, Mark Hurd:
And purchased a print, which matches the poster for the year that we always purchase, and have signed:
We also saw some artists at work, including a painter:
And a wood-carver:
I’m already looking forward to going back next year, and seeing what new things there are to discover!
When you’re driving through a town, it’s easy to miss how pretty it is. But, as we were walking around Sunday, looking at the store windows and gingerbread houses, I realized that downtown Belleville is really quite beautiful, especially at Christmastime. Here’s a glimpse into just what makes it a nice town:
It’s nice to slow down and really take a look at things for a change, instead of just rushing by!
Since the weather was so beautiful today, we took a nice, long walk up and down Main Street in downtown Belleville, to admire all of the beautiful gingerbread creations in the store windows.
There were all kinds of different displays, from traditional houses to mythical creatures, and more than one very “punny” creation!
Of course, there are different awards given out to the best and most creative designs. The Markel Family chose three particularly impressive displays.
A replica of the town library:
The very amusing “ninjabread men:”
And an amazing dragon:
Besides our three favorites, there were many other fun creations…the “Angry Birds” house was another favorite:
Bunny really thought this “Fleas Navi Dog” one was hilarious:
The design in the jewelry store window boasted a working clock:
Gingerbread space shuttle:
I was amused by this cooler:
The snow in the store window made this one even more beautiful:
We had a great time looking at them all!
It’s hard to believe it’s already that time of year again, but this weekend was Belleville’s annual art show–Art on the Square. The weather was perfect for browsing the different tents–warm and sunny. There was a good crowd there already when it opened at 10 on Saturday morning, so hopefully this was another successful year for the artists in attendance!
Every year, I give the children an assignment while we’re there. For example, one year, it was finding and identifying different styles of painting. This year’s assignment was finding one piece of art that was a favorite, and then explaining why they chose it. Bunny really liked a group of paintings of the Great Plains..she said they made her feel free and wild. Turkey really liked these sculptures, because they’re colorful and fun, and move in the wind.
As always, I loved looking at all of the different styles and kinds of art at the show. It seems that all kinds of art are represented, from photography to paintings, sculptures to jewelry, pottery to wood carvings. Even when something doesn’t reflect my personal taste, I can still appreciate the talent and effort it takes to make it–especially since I’m not gifted in the art department!
We got to see a few different artists at work, demonstrating their skills.
The children enjoyed the children’s art area, and they had a fun time adding their personal stamp to the giant mural that was set up.
This year, we even bought a few prints from my favorite artist, local photographer Mark Hurd!