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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Palace Theatre is already in the holiday spirit

November 17. 2017 8:21PM
Tammi Graff sets up holiday decorations at the Palace Theatre's new company store in Manchester on Friday. (DAVID LANE/Union Leader)

If you are one of those annoying people, like me, who starts playing Christmas music and burning pine-scented candles the day after Halloween then you should definitely stop into the Palace Theatre A.S.A.P. for your first dose of holiday cheer.

The creative team over there has put up a beautiful, freshly cut, 12-foot Christmas tree in the lobby. It fills the whole place with Christmas smells and my heart with Christmas magic.

And the tree isn’t the only reason you should make a visit this season. The annual Nutcracker run begins this Friday, Nov. 24, followed by 22 performances of A Christmas Carol starting on Dec. 1. Plus, the historic theater has opened its first-ever gift shop.

It’s serious Christmas overload, and I love it.

The small shop is the work of my fellow Palace Theatre trustees Judith Jolton and Sarah Demers, with the help of architect Catherine Przekaca. The shop is filled with Palace-themed gifts like journals, pens, socks, bags, and artwork. There are also other whimsical treasures, including brightly-colored reading glasses that Executive Director Peter Ramsey totally rocks during board meetings.

The shop has been stocked up for Christmas sales, and any of the items would be a great addition to a gift of Mamma Mia tickets for your favorite theater lover. When you’re there, make sure to take in the majesty of the Palace’s new glass entryway. It’s a beautiful addition and welcome improvement to Hanover Street.

The Palace Theatre is ready for the holiday season with a 12-foot Christmas tree in the front lobby. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)

Liberty House help

Veterans Day was last week, but we should really be celebrating and supporting our national heroes all year long. 

My Cub Scout Pack 118 put together 20 care packages for homeless veterans and I had the honor of delivering them to Liberty House, the W. Baker Street residence that provides services to homeless veterans.

It’s a modest building with a garage in the back that serves as a food pantry and distribution place for donated clothes and other items. Bill Zarakotas, Liberty House’s director of community relations and a U.S. Coast Guard veteran, filled me in on the work they do.

The home has 10 beds for homeless veterans, who must be clean and sober during their stay. Some stay for a couple of weeks, some more than a year, depending on their situation. The small staff also helps countless other veterans who need help with employment, housing, food, and other needs. And they do it all without government funds.

“We’re a brotherhood here. It’s vets helping vets. No government bureaucracy,” said Zarakotas.

You can make a donation to their work, or find lists of needed items at

My favorite things

Lovers of The Sound of Music will want to see Elisabeth von Trapp, granddaughter of Maria von Trapp, at Saint Paul’s United Methodist Church tomorrow, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m. The fee is a goodwill donation of $10 that will be donated to hurricane relief in Puerto Rico. 

Get crafty

If local craft and artisan fairs are your thing, you’ll find your fill on our online events calendar at A couple of standouts are Intown Manchester’s 7th Annual Downtown Holiday Market and the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s holiday maker fair.

The Intown market, at Brady Sullivan Plaza, features handcrafted jewelry, ornaments, accessories, baked goods, and more. It’s open Thursdays, Nov. 30, Dec. 7, and 14 from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays, Dec. 9 and 16, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

The NHIA maker fair is Sunday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m., and features ceramics, graphic design work, illustrations, jewelry, paintings, and more made by the school’s students, alumni and faculty.

Do you have an interesting item for The Scene? Email Katie at

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