The winter holidays are all about spreading cheer, whether it be amongst friends, family, or neighbors. The Tenleytown community will get its cup of cheer through the fourth annual Tenley WinterFest, which commenced on November 27. WinterFest is a weeklong celebration of the season for the whole neighborhood, which includes participation from local stores, schools, and restaurants. “It’s a fun way to bring the community together,” says junior Alexandra Radifera.
The return of “Winter Feast” is sure to excite everyone, especially hungry and broke teenagers. Throughout the week, seventeen local restaurants, including Robeks, Pete’s New Haven Style Apizza, and Burger, Tap & Shake will be offering discounts up to 20 percent, most of which can be accessed simply by mentioning WinterFest. A full list of participating restaurants and deals can be found here.
The big finale to Tenley WinterFest is the Janney Winter Market on December 5, which features over 90 vendors selling everything from henna tattoos to spring rolls. The market was started 11 years ago, and is a unique place to find holiday presents at a great price. “The collection of stuff is really eclectic,” says Jane Malhotra, co-chair of the WinterFest committee. Anyone can sign up online to have a table, and vendors include both adults and kids.
Sophomore Nathan Wagner has been selling things such as used toys and baseball cards at the market with his brother for over nine years. “It’s fun to get together with people I grew up with, and it reconnects people from the community who haven’t seen each other for a year or longer,” says Wagner in a text message.
Wilson’s varsity Robotics team will be selling laser engraved ornaments at the market, some on behalf of local organizations like churches and synagogues who pay to have their images used, and others that are Wilson themed. “We can engrave any image, and it’ll last forever on the stuff we use,” says junior and president of the team Nic Fishman in a text. The profits will be used to cover the team’s expenses.
The Robotics team isn’t the only Wilson representation in the festivities. The official WinterFest poster was designed by Wilson student Yerinel Caceres Guerrero, and can be seen in various spots around Tenleytown.
For those who aren’t looking to do shopping, the Janney Winter Market will also be a venue for local entertainment. Musical groups from neighboring schools will perform, and there will be a belly dance performance from members of Sahara Dance dance studio. The market is open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
The Janney Winter Market may be the most popular part of WinterFest, but it is preceded by many other activities that engage the Tenley community. The week is full of events for the whole family, such as live music at Middle C and Tenley Gets Lit!, a celebration where local organizations will turn on festive lights at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. This event is new this year, and eight to ten shops are expected to participate. The Janney Garden will also be full of lights.
Another new part of the celebration this year is that Best Buy is allowing for one of their windows to be used as a holiday display. “That’s the way that an event like this can help make the community better and a little more fun,” says Malhotra.
One of the most exciting events during WinterFest is the Yeti Hunt, a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood for all ages. Cardstock cutout Yetis are placed at eleven local businesses, and participants can download a map on the WinterFest website where they can check off each Yeti they’ve found. Kids will then bring their maps to the Janney Winter Market to find the final Yeti and be entered in a raffle, where they have the chance to win a stuffed Yeti provided by Sullivan’s Toys & Art Supplies.
Tenleytown is “not the most walkable stretch,” says Malhotra. “The more people are out walking, the better it becomes. So [the scavenger hunt] is our way to try to get people out in the neighborhood.”
This year, the Yeti Hunt will also be taking place on social media. As participants find the cutouts, they can post a picture of the Yeti to Instagram, tag @tenley_winterfest, and use the hashtag #TenleyWinterFest to be entered in an Instagram raffle for a small prize. There will also be a Yeti drawing contest hosted by the Tenley-Friendship Library’s Makers-in-Residence. These drawings are made by footsteps, where participants walk the outline of a yeti and track their path using a GPS app. The winner will receive a 3D print of their drawing. Full instructions are available on the WinterFest website.
WinterFest is not only great for business, but brings the whole community together. Malhotra recently took her son over to Camillo Barber Shop while looking for Yetis. “Everybody in the shop was smiling,” she says. “It’s a way to connect neighbors, and the neighboring businesses around them, with each other.” Be a part of this connection, and participate in the festivities occurring throughout the week!
A full list of events is available here.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WINTERFEST COMMITTEE