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Make Saratoga County Your Holiday Season Destination: Festivals, Traditions & More

Editor's Note (10/13/2021): Please note that the following event info is from the 2020 holiday season. We are in the process of updating this page for 2021 as more details are announced.

'Tis the season for holiday fun and excitement in Saratoga County! Now is a great time to get out with the family and enjoy some of the season's best events and traditional holiday activities.

Kick-Start Your Holiday Gift Shopping Spree

big holiday marketNote: This photo was taken prior to 2020 and does not reflect current social distancing requirements

Although you may feel ready to relax after a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, you also don’t want to leave your holiday gift shopping to the last minute. Take advantage of the holiday season’s best deals on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday.

On Black Friday, November 27, 2020, shops in downtown Saratoga and around the region will open their doors bright and early and offer incredible savings on products and potential holiday gifts.

If you’re looking for even more deals after Black Friday, then consider making the most of Small Business Saturday, November 28, 2020. This shopping holiday is a celebration of local and small businesses. Visit Saratoga County stores and boutiques for great discounts, or browse tons of vendors in one place at the Holiday Craft Marketplace (Virtual for 2020).

Illuminate Your Night at Tree Lightings & Holiday Celebrations

victorian streetwalkNote: This photo was taken prior to 2020 and does not reflect current social distancing requirements

No matter where you go in Saratoga County, you can find holiday celebrations and family-friendly festivities. Mark your calendar for these upcoming events!

Victorian Streetscapes

The annual Saratoga Victorian Streetwalk has been reimagined due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For 2020, the event will be called the Victorian Streetscapes, and it will include beautiful Christmas trees and decor located throughout downtown Saratoga for the entire holiday season.

Wilton Tree Lighting

Editor's Note (11/23/2020): The following info is from 2019. 2020 details have not been announced yet - stay tuned!

Join the Town of Wilton on December 6, 2019, as they host their annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Gavin Park. Enjoy the tree lighting, hot cocoa and refreshments, holiday music, and visit from Santa Claus.

Santa’s Play Land

Editor's Note (11/23/2020): The following info is from 2019. 2020 details have not been announced yet - stay tuned!

Quick Response's annual Santa's Play Land is back for another weekend of holiday fun! On December 13-14, 2019, families can visit their location in Round Lake and see a spectacular light display, meet Santa and holiday characters, ride the "Quick Express" tractor-drawn train, and more. This event is free to attend.

Enter a Sea of Twinkling Lights at the Festival of Trees

festival of trees

Visit the Saratoga Springs City Center on December 2 - 6, 2020, and explore a Christmas wonderland of 200+ decorated trees, wreaths, and centerpieces available for viewing and purchase. The 2020 Saratoga Festival of Trees will also be held virtually so you can view the beautiful trees from the comforts of your home.

Pick Out the Perfect Christmas Tree

christmas tree on a cart

Christmas time is here, and one of the season's best activities is choosing the perfect tree for your home. For many families, it's tradition to visit a local Christmas tree farm and find a fragrant and fresh tree. In the Saratoga County area, there are multiple Christmas tree farms offering a variety of trees for the holidays, from Fraser fir to balsam and blue spruce.

Who Doesn’t Enjoy a Traditional Holiday Parade?

holiday parade float

Nothing says the holidays like an old-fashioned Christmas parade through town. In Saratoga County, here are two parades you won’t want to miss happening in South Glens Falls and Ballston Spa.

South Glens Falls Fire Company Holiday Parade

Editor's Note (9/21/2020): The 41st Annual South Glens Falls Holiday Parade has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The following details are from the 2019 event.

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving, November 24, 2019, the 40th Annual South Glens Falls Holiday Parade will travel through the South Glens Falls community. Marchers, floats, costumed characters, bands, and Santa Claus will take part in this village holiday tradition. Non-perishable food items or new, unwrapped toys will be accepted for donation.

Ballston Spa Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting

During the first Friday of December, the Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association will present the 2020 Ballston Spa Tree Lighting + Neighborhood Parade. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, attendance at the tree lighting will be limited, and residents are asked to watch the parade from their window or on their front porch or driveway.

Cheer On the Holiday Train as It Rolls Through Saratoga County

holiday train

Editor's Note (10/30/2020): Please note that the following info is from the 2019 Holiday Train events. For 2020, Canadian Pacific will offer a virtual benefit concert this year and donate to food banks in communities along its traditional network.

Since 1999, the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train has spread holiday cheer to communities throughout North America and collected over CAD $14.5 million and 4.3 million pounds of food for regional food banks. On Tuesday, November 26, 2019, the festive train will return to Saratoga County and stop in both Mechanicville and Saratoga Springs.

At these two stops, the Holiday Train will entertain attendees at their box car stage with live music from Alan Doyle and Beautiful Band. The event organizers will accept monetary and food donations to support the local community.

Experience the Magic of First Night Saratoga

first night eventPhoto Credit: Jacob Weakland - Note: This photo was taken prior to 2020 and does not reflect current social distancing requirements

Editor's Note (10/30/2020): Please note that the 2020 First Night Saratoga event has been canceled. Below, you can still read about the 2019 event for an idea of what to expect next year!

Recognized as the state’s largest New Year’s Eve celebration outside of New York City, First Night Saratoga is a Spa City tradition that attracts over 15,000 revelers annually. This year’s event will feature all kinds of entertainment from live music to dance, magic, comedy, and more. To attend these fantastic performances, all you need to do is buy a First Night button.

At midnight, everyone gathers in Congress Park to ring in the new year with a spectacular fireworks show. There’s no better way to say goodbye to 2019 than a trip to First Night Saratoga!

Excited for the holidays? Plan your trip to Saratoga County today!

This article is sponsored by Saratoga County Tourism. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or view of Saratoga County Tourism or its members.

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