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A Holiday Showcase for the Ages

“The ladies come armed with tape measures and notebooks … and a fair number of ‘pretty-please’ requests, such as ‘Can you please help us hang a 12-foot, Chinese dragon from the ceiling?’ Or ‘Will it be all right if we build a boat in the middle of the Compass Rose?’ Or ‘Can we affix a mantle piece to the wall?’” says Wolk with a laugh, noting that the Cultural Center’s walls are 14 inches of masonry that “no nail will ever penetrate. It’s a bit like watching sausage being made, but we always figure out a way to make it all work,” she concludes.

Faulconer says that this partnership has been a great experience all around for the Garden Club of Hyannis, which is a member of the Garden Club Federation of Massachusetts and well-known on the Cape for the variety and excellence of its civic projects. “I can’t stress enough how wonderful the Cultural Center is to work with, they are just so great,” says Faulconer, noting that the center does a “ton of publicity” for the Showcase. “Their volunteers help us every step of the way, selling tickets, helping us manage the crowds—they are amazing.”

The challenges of the COVID pandemic will also mean that this year’s Showcase must have some procedures in place to safeguard garden club members, Cultural Center volunteers—and the hundreds of anticipated visitors over the three days of the event. “We are, of course, still concerned with everyone’s well being,” says Faulconer, noting that Showcase hours this year will include an additional hour from 9 am to 5 pm every day, so that visiting groups can be smaller and more evenly spaced out.

“Everything is still a little fluid, but we are trying hard to make it all work,” she says, noting that the cancellation of the original November 2020 “400 Years” Showcase took a lot of careful garden club discussion. “We gave it a lot of thought, reflection, and experienced a lot of angst when we were deciding to cancel,” she says. “But we all knew it was the right decision. And this year’s Showcase promises to be even better because we’ve had more time to focus on all the details!”

One of the biggest attractions at the Holiday Showcase has always been a boutique, which will be in the recently constructed Owl Hall this year, featuring literally thousands of seasonal treasures, all lovingly handcrafted. “The Owl Hall is so much bigger than the previous boutique area that we have a lot more space,” says Faulconer, noting that many people come early and go to the boutique first before touring through the rest of the Showcase.

“The new space has just made a huge difference and really helps with flow of traffic. This year’s boutique will have over 2,000 handmade items,” she continues with pride. “There will be all kinds of holiday treasures, including wreaths, table arrangements, decorated antique sleds, sea shell trees, knitted items, hand-painted wine glasses, wine bottle lamps, many beautiful ornaments, and American girl doll clothes . . . it’s a lot. The boutique committee is full of extremely talented people!”

Many of this year’s display areas feature decorations and furnishings culled from club members’ own homes and also treasures from community resources such as historical societies, local businesses, and supportive individuals. Faulconer notes that this year’s highlights will include such gifts as iconic memorabilia from Thompson’s Clam Bar in Harwich Port. “The sons of Biddle Thompson, founder of the clam bar, are allowing us to borrow some great things from the Harwich Historical Society,” says Faulconer, noting that the co-chairs have also found the perfect look-alike, JFK rocker for the “Hyannis Port: A Child’s Christmas in Camelot” display.

Faulconer says that one of the rooms will capture a wedding in a Yarmouth Port sea captain’s house with the central attraction a gorgeous vintage bridal gown from the local historical society. And of course, the wedding tableau will feature beautiful floral displays of fresh blossoms, holiday greens, and foliages, all designed and created just before the Showcase’s opening day on Thursday.

Long-time Garden Club of Hyannis member and award-winning floral designer, Dolores Ahern of South Dennis, and her co-chair, Diane Cochran of Mashpee, will get up in the dark hours of the very early morning the day before this year’s Showcase and travel to regional flower markets in Boston, Fall River, or Providence to gather buckets full of fresh floral delights.

“The flowers are the final beautiful touch,” says Faulconer, explaining that Ahern and Cochran and their committee also “condition”—carefully cut, clean, and hydrate—all the flowers in Ahern’s basement before specific orders are picked up by each committee the day before the opening. “It’s a huge amount of flowers, but they do such a great job trying to find the right, just perfect flowers,” says Faulconer.

“The women of the Garden Club of Hyannis are very skilled at giving every space its own unique identity, but linking them all thematically to create a journey that makes perfect sense. The fresh flowers also tie everything together beautifully,” says Wolk. “I do love to eavesdrop on people as they tour the spaces. There are lots of oohs and ahhhs…and very excited chatter about what people plan to do when they get home. That’s the beauty of these Holiday Showcases: they give visitors all kinds of ideas for how to make their own holiday spaces more beautiful.”

Susan Dewey is the former editor and associate publisher at Cape Cod Life Publications. She is also vice president of the Osterville Garden Club.

“400 Years of Holidays on Cape Cod”–November 18, 19 and 20, 2021

Tickets are $20 in advance (or $25 at the door) at the Cultural Center’s website,; for purchase from any Garden Club of Hyannis member; or by visiting
The Cultural Center is located at 307 Old Main Street in South Yarmouth. For more information, call 508-394-7100.

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