2017-11-30 / Front Page

Santa, tree lighting, festivities signal start of the holiday season

Santa and Mrs. Claus are set to arrive at East Ferry at 1 p.m. Saturday. Santa and Mrs. Claus are set to arrive at East Ferry at 1 p.m. Saturday. With scores of children expected to be eagerly draped over the East Ferry seawall Saturday afternoon, Santa Claus will arrive in Narragansett Bay aboard a festive lobster boat with his wife in tow, signaling the widely recognized beginning of the Christmas season in Jamestown.

The jolly couple is expected to sail past Castle Hill 15 minutes before docking at East Ferry at around 1 p.m. Once they disembark, the Clauses will greet children en route to their favorite seat at Conanicut Marine Ship’s Store. Once the tractor-pulled hay wagon arrives at 20 Narragansett Ave., they will listen to wish lists and pose for photographs.

The annual arrival of Santa coincides with the illumination of the village Christmas tree. In between those two traditions, the Jamestown Chamber of Commerce will sponsor its holiday stroll, a sweeping open house from the wharf to Beavertail. Shoppers browsing the storefronts along the main street can enjoy cookies and cider while their children decorate ornaments. Nearly every storefront will welcome visitors with holiday cheer and Christmas sales, from free bottles of perfume to discounted bottles of wine.

Carolers in the backdrop will liven up the stroll and add to the festive atmosphere.

All three churches, Central Baptist, St. Mark and St. Matthew’s, will host their Christmas festivals during the stroll. From roughly 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the parishes will offer breakfast, lunch and holiday shopping. Highlights include greenery tables, white elephant sales, baked goods, knitted apparel, jewelry, ornaments, gift baskets, raffles, auctions, games, toys, puzzles and books.

The parishes will serve hot chocolate and coffee. Each church will have its own unique breakfast and lunch menus, including hot soups to warm up shoppers.

Following Santa and shopping, the busy day culminates with the 38th annual tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. at East Ferry Wharf. The tree, which was donated by the Cribb family on Seaside Drive, survived the late October storm despite its neighboring tree not being so lucky.

During the ceremony, music teacher Karyn Kauffman will lead the Lawn School band while conductor B.J. Whitehouse directs the community chorus through holiday favorites. As always, the tree will be illuminated to “O Christmas Tree,” the English version of “O Tannenbaum.” Ernst Anschutz wrote the folk song in 1824, which has since become a popular American Christmas carol. Baked goods, hot chocolate and cider will be served, while camp fires and a luminaria display will decorate the square.

To offset the cost of new lights, Christmas bells will be sold. The $20 tree decoration can be inscribed with a personal message before being hung for the holidays.

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