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Enjoy an Extra-Long Winterfest in R'wood

Stop by Saturday if you missed your chance last year—or last weekend.

There are just 15 days left in the year.

That means many of us are overwhelmed with holiday shopping, cooking and planning for family visits, not to mention rushing to meet work deadlines.

If you feel like you’re missing out during “the most wonderful time of the year” with all there is to do, you might want to gather the family this Saturday and head to in Ridgewood for the village's second annual .

Created by the Ridgewood Guild as a way to entice people to enjoy the town and its merchants, Winterfest includes a variety of activities and attractions.

The Ridgewood Symphony Orchestra will assemble right in front of the park, providing a festive soundtrack to accompany families enjoying hot chocolate and other goodies, taking pictures with elves (the gracious members of the Guild,) and admiring ice sculptures provided by Jimmy's Artistic Creations.

“This is a big community effort,” Ridgewood Guild President Tony Damiano said of the event, which was expanded this year to include two weekends because of its frosh success.

The Ridgewood Guild is made up of local business owners and residents who are passionate about maintaining Ridgewood's downtown area. Aside from his position with the Guild, Damiano is also is the owner of the gift shop.

Another upgrade to this year’s Winterfest is the inclusion of an interactive ice sculpture sure to be a favorite photo op among kids and parents: an Eskimo with a hollowed-out face, so that children can stick their own faces in, much like the cardboard cutouts found on farms in the fall.

Jimmy Chiappa of Jimmy's Artistic Creations will even be chipping away at the sculptures on site.

But the biggest draw is the horse-drawn carriage that makes its way from Van Neste Square to Broad Street, and back. As the holiday season is frequently a time for reflection and a catalyst for an influx of images from times long past, it’s no surprise that the carriage ride remains a favorite feature of Winterfest.

“What better time of year to entice people to stay in town rather than hit the malls?” Damiano reasoned.

Winterfest’s purpose extends beyond just that of entertainment — it also gives people an opportunity to reconnect with neighbors and enjoy all the town has to offer.

Other events to check out this weekend include:

Ramsey Farmers' Market

Where/When: Eric Smith School, 73 Monroe Street, Ramsey; Sun. Dec. 18, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Why Go: Over 20 vendors will help the town’s first indoor winter market kick off on this day (and runs every Sunday until March 25). Stock up on local organic and traditional produce, homemade pasta, free-range eggs, gluten-free baked goods, artisian breads and cheeses, gourmet coffee and more.

Cost: Free (just need spending money!)

Where/When: , 14-19 Parmelee Ave., Fair Lawn; Saturday 8:30 a.m.

Why go: Both Santa and Mrs. Claus will be present at this buffet-style breakfast. A raffle will also take place.

Cost: Children under 4 are admitted for free, $9.50 for everyone else

Where/When: , 700 Lawlins Rd., Wyckoff; Saturday, 1-4 p.m.

Why go: Kids can visit with Santa in the greenhouse while adults shop for trees, poinsettias and other holiday necessities. Plus, hot cider and cookies for all!

Cost: Free, you'll just need spending money and your camera.

Where/When: , 500 Main St., Wyckoff; Friday, 6 p.m.

Why Go: Multi-talented musician Dave Edwards returns to Powerhouse to help get everyone into the Christmas spirit.

Cost: Free

Where/When: , 558 High Mountain Road, Franklin Lakes; Sunday, 11 a.m.

Why Go: Enjoy live entertainment, play games and eat lunch.

Cost: An unwrapped toy for underprivileged kids or a recipe for the recipe exchange. Reservations required.

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