AREA – The Friday after Thanksgiving has traditionally been considered the biggest shopping day of the year, but for many it also marks the unofficial start of the holiday season. Local communities will begin holding their tree lighting ceremonies and other holiday events this weekend.
Here’s a rundown of some of the events in our area:
CLARK: The township’s Tree & Menorah Lighting is Sunday, Nov. 27, at the Clark Recreation & Municipal Building, 430 Westfield Avenue. Festivities, which include horse-drawn hayrides, a petting zoo, live music and more, will last from 3-6 p.m. The tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. Bring a toy to donate to Toys For Tots and bring your camera to take pictures with Santa Claus.
Next weekend, the Parent’s Guild of Mother Seton Regional High School will hold their annual Peppermint Boutique craft fair at the school on 1 Valley Road from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Dr. William Robinson Plantation Museum, at 593 Madison Hill Road, will hold its 5th annual holiday celebration on Dec. 3 and 4 from noon to 4 p.m. See a hearth cooking demonstration and take photos with Santa Claus while exploring what the museum has to offer. For more information, call 1-732-340-1571.
EDISON: Santa Paws, sponsored by J.P. Stevens for Animal Welfare to raise money in support of homeless animals at the Edison Animal Shelter, offers families the opportunity to get their pets in the photo with Santa Claus. The price for one photo is $9. Santa Paws will be held at the Edison Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Boulevard, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, and 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3. There will be another opportunity at the Minnie Veal Community Center, 1070 Grove Avenue, from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. on Dec. 10.
ELIZABETH: The first of several holiday tree lighting ceremonies in Elizabeth will be Tuesday evening, Nov. 29, at 6 p.m. at Union Square Plaza. The Elizabeth Avenue Partnership event promises caroling, music and a visit from Santa Claus. On Thursday, Dec. 1, from 5:30-7:30 p.m., The Historic Midtown Elizabeth Special Improvement District will hold its tree lighting ceremony at the Midtown Train Station. On Friday, Dec. 2, at 5:30 p.m., 5th Ward Councilman William Gallman, Mayor Chris Bollwage and other city officials plan to take part in the 5th Ward holiday tree lighting at Woodruff Park, at the intersection of Jackson Avenue, Mary Street and Adams Avenue.
On Sunday, Dec. 4, the Elizabeth PBA Local #4 and Jersey Gardens Mall will hold the Jingle Bell 5 K Run. There is a $35 fee to enter on race day, but there is a $10 discount if you pre-register. For more information, call 1-908-370-2419.
LINDEN: The Morning Star Community Development Corporation will sponsor a holiday bazaar at the Linden/Roselle Community Center, 1238 St. Georges Avenue, Linden on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. There will be raffles, food and door prizes along with vendors offering a variety of items.
PERTH AMBOY: On Sunday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m., enjoy Christmas Tea at the Proprietary House Museum, 149 Kearny Avenue. See the newly-restored and painted former Royal Governor’s mansion decorated in Christmas splendor. There is a $20 per person fee; reservations are required, call 1-732-826-5527.
RAHWAY: The city’s annual holiday tree lighting is Friday, Nov. 25, at 7 p.m. at City Hall Plaza. There will be live music provided by the Rahway High School band and chorus; afterwards, there will be an opportunity to take photos with Santa Claus at the Rahway Recreation Center, 275 East Milton Avenue. There will also be a holiday craft show and pet market at City Hall Plaza from 5-9 p.m. on Nov. 25, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26. There will be an opportunity to take photos of your pet with Santa Claus on Saturday from noon-3 p.m.
On Sunday, Nov. 27, Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Judy Collins and folk music icon Arlo Guthrie will perform a holiday concert at the Union County Performing Arts Center, 1601 Irving Street, at 7 p.m. Tickets range from $45-$95, and are available by calling 1-732-499-8226.
Thursday, Dec. 1, artist Lloyd Garrison will be selling his 2011 holiday greeting cards at the Union County Performing Arts Center at 6 p.m.
If you find yourself getting tired of all the holiday hype, you may enjoy Erin McKeowns’ Anti-Holiday Show at the Union County Performing Arts Center on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available by calling 1-732-499-8226. (Adult language makes the show inappropriate for children.)
SOUTH AMBOY: City residents can enter a holiday home-decorating contest. The first prize winner will receive $100 and a photo collage by Brian Stratton of “Scans And More.” Homes must be decorated by Dec. 10. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the South Amboy Recreation Office at 1-732-316-8212.
WOODBRIDGE: Downtown Main Street will host the 4th annual Holiday Stroll on Saturday, Nov. 26, from 1-4 p.m. There will be horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday carolers, vendors, a visit from Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus and more. Bring your camera, and bring old winter jackets, canned food, and new toys to donate to those in need.
The township’s annual tree lighting and holiday train show opening ceremony will be next weekend, on Friday, Dec. 2, from 5-7 p.m. at the Barron Arts Center, 582 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge. Mayor John McCormac and Santa Claus will be at the celebration, which promises other holiday surprises. The Barron Arts Center’s 21st annual train show exhibit will be open from Dec. 3-29, from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays and 2-4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
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