A bright beginning – Chamber festival Friday night

The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce and its partners in the Winthrop Police, Fire and Public Works departments were finalizing arrangement on Monday for the Annual Holiday Lighting Festival in French Square on Friday, the day after Thanksgiving.

For almost two decades now, Winthrop business owners and community members have been urging their fellow Winthropites to forego the “Black Friday” crowds of shoppers at the malls and Big Box retailers and stay closer to home to enjoy their hometown shopping districts.

The Winthrop Chamber of Commerce Annual Holiday Lighting Festival will include games, prizes, refreshments, music, giveaways, live entertainment and more.

“The Chamber is proud to light up the town for the holidays and sponsor the community festival,” said Chamber President Paul Leavy. “More than ever we need ot make the season bright.”

This year’s lighting festival will feature a number of new attractions including pony rides in the square, a dance competition, Holiday Hat contest and the Winter Wonderland at Kathy’s Place Youth Center, which itself will feature crafts, games and Letters to Santa.

“As always, there will be lots for families to do,” said Chamber Executive Director Eric Gaynor. “The coloring contest, which will actually run until December 1 is always a big attraction and there is plenty of entertainment planned, but the biggest attraction is the procession of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts that will lead Santa into the Square at 5:30 to light up the trees.” Also at 5:30 will be the drawings for two $250 raffle prizes and the shops involved in the festival will be running specials and sales throughout the day.

“The program is from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., but the shops will be open earlier than that and as long as the weather cooperates, we’re expecting a great turnout and a lot of family fun,” added Gaynor. In the event of rain or other inclement weather, the festival will be cancelled and the lights will be turned on without the festival atmosphere.

Entertainment for the day will include performances by the Kathy’s Place Dancers, Cervizzi’s Martial Arts Demonstration, the Middle School Chorus, The Winthrop School of Performing Arts, John and Lori Wadkins and the Winthrop Playmakers.

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