Revitalized Center Set to Help Martinsville Celebrate the Holidays

After years of neglect and negotiations, the refurbished Martinsville Community Center is becoming a destination for activities.

The Martinsville Community Center is hosting a special "Christmas in Martinsville" event on Saturday. Credit: Jane Gandolfe
The Martinsville Community Center is hosting a special "Christmas in Martinsville" event on Saturday. Credit: Jane Gandolfe
Even though its history dates back to the 1920s, many Bridgewater residents may not be familiar with the Martinsville Community Center. 

Once home to teen dances and New Year's celebrations, the center fell on hard times in the 1970s and '80s—but after several years of effort, a local group has reclaimed the center—and rededicated it to becoming a vital resource for the Washington Valley neighborhoods.

Saturday's Christmas in Martinsville event will offer a sample for those unfamiliar with the center. With music, a puppet show for kids, a visit from Santa and community caroling around a decorated Christmas tree, the event will certainly brighten the holidays. 

"Our goal is to restore some of that community spirit to Martinsville, Bridgewater and the nearby area," Jane Gandolfe, leader of the group of residents working to make the center vital again. 

The center has hosted a Fall Festival for the last few years, with as many as 500 people attending the project, and is home to the nascent Washington Valley Business Alliance. 

Yoga and other classes are beginning to fill in the center's activity schedule, and an open-air, juried art show is in the works for May 2014. The teen dances and New Year's events are also returning.

"We are trying to do a bunch of things," Gandolfe said.

Funding for the operations comes from hall rentals and memberships (which are just $25 per year, and offer discounts on rentals plus tickets to a special May membership picnic).  

The Christmas in Martinsville event will begin at 1:30 p.m., with a holiday-themed puppet show by Diana Patton, followed by a reading of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" at 3 p.m. At 4:15 p.m., caroling and a ceremonial lighting of the outdoor tree will be held. 

Santa will be on hand through afternoon, and there will be caroling and light refreshments—including hot chocolate and baked goods—also.   


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