Our Main Streets are beautiful at any time of year, but never moreso than during the holidays. During the Wickford Festival of Lights, thousands upon thousands of tiny white lights adorn the quaint historic buildings dotting the town center. The nighttime festival kicks off on November 29 with the tree lighting in Updike Park, which sets the tone for the festivities with performances by the North Kingstown Community Youth Chorus and The Lafayette Band. On November 30, Santa arrives at the town dock aboard the Sea Princess, and then takes hayrides with families throughout the evening. A living nativity, roving carolers and live musical performances happen all night, and stores stay open until 9pm. On the weekend, the fun happens all day, starting with Breakfast with Santa on December 1. After, enjoy an Elf Parade, concerts, a Holiday Kitchen Tour and more. During this time, Smith’s Castle will also be hosting Christmas at the Castle, with live music, refreshments and costumed interpreters discussing the holidays over the centuries.
In Westerly, Santa arrives in style on November 23 – on a firetruck, accompanied by the Winterlady, elves, reindeer, snowmen and angels, who give out free candy to good little girls and boys (and, just maybe, their doting parents). The town celebrates its Winter Festival on December 15. The all-day event features larger-than-life ice sculptures, performances by the Westerly High School Chorus and hayrides with Santa. During this time, downtown Westerly shops offer holiday gift specials and refreshments. What kind of specials? You’ll just have to peek in and see for yourself.
When the sun goes down, it’s time for a Holiday Stroll in East Greenwich. During these evenings, stores stay open late and offer shopping deals and refreshments. There are three events planned for this month: December 6, 13 and 20 – with a special evening planned on November 29 for Santa’s arrival and the town’s Christmas Tree Lighting. Each evening has a different theme, like Ladies Night or the Holiday Window Display contest. www.eastgreenwichri.com
Narragansett celebrates its Festival of Lights on December 2. The all-day festival offers fun for the whole family, and does its part to help others in need. Festivities kick off at 11:30 at the Narragansett Community Center for Arts & Crafts & Pizza (admission is a canned good donation). Throughout the day, there are performances by the Narragansett Middle School and High School Choruses, holiday trolley rides, caroling at the library and festivities in Gazebo Park. Photos with Santa are available at the Towers (in exchange for one new, unwrapped toy). A Jingle Bell Run happens on Ocean Road in the afternoon. During the festival, the Pier Marketplace offers activities like Christmas storytelling, a luminary stroll, horse-drawn wagon rides and free gelato at Nana’s Ice Cream.
The Ashaway Holiday Stroll is a day of festive fun on December 8, with events happening all over town. Start early with Breakfast with Santa at the Ashaway Fire Department. Then spend the day exploring: shop at craft and holiday bazaars and a book sale; enjoy a holiday house tour; write a letter to Santa; take a horse-drawn wagon ride or participate in the community carol sing at the Ashaway Free Library. As night falls, a roast pork dinner, living nativity, luminaria stroll and fireworks cap off the festivities. 364-7052