A pre-holiday Shop, Sip & Stroll event is among them. The first event of its kind in Saratoga Springs, sponsored by Saratoga.com, is attracting a lot of “likes, shares and comments” on Facebook. It will take place 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16. in downtown Saratoga Springs.
It will provide an opportunity to do some shopping or preview merchandise in anticipation of Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. The “sipping” component is a social addition to the mix and an opportunity to win door prizes from participating local businesses.
People planning to attend Shop, Sip & Stroll should visit Saratoga.com to register in advance. There will be a check-in on the night of the event (location to be determined), where registered attendees will receive a wristband, an entry form to win door prizes and a coupon book full of discounts from participating businesses.
From there, people can stroll from business to business, checking out the deals and getting a jump on holiday shopping without the hassle of last-minute craziness. The evening will be capped off at Gaffney’s at 16 Caroline St., where guests can enjoy food and drink specials and perhaps win one of the many door prizes that will be raffled off at the end of the evening.
For more information about the Pre-Holiday Shop, Sip & Stroll and to register to attend, visit www.saratoga.com.
Saratoga Springs will mark the 30th anniversary of its popular Victorian Street Walk, on Thursday, Dec. 1, from 6-10 p.m.
Broadway will be closed to automobile traffic at 5 p.m., from the Route 50 arterial to just south of Spring Street, allowing visitors to stroll freely up and down Broadway and some side streets.
This year’s coordinator of the event is Tonya Pellegrini, recently hired as director of marketing and promotions for the Downtown Business Association. Pellegrini, who is a native Saratogian, remembers the event as a child and is excited to be coordinating it this year.
“I remember when I was a kid, the downtown area wasn’t even closed to traffic. This event has grown so much over the years, and we are expecting more than 20,000 people to show up for an evening of shopping, listening to holiday music and enjoying many other activities that we have planned for this year,” said Pellegrini.
While many of the events and activities will remain the same, the DBA is re-introducing the horse and carriage, courtesy of Saratoga Horse & Carriage, that will transport Santa and Mrs. Claus into the city, flanked by the Christian Brothers’ Academy Marching Band and a troupe of Santa’s elves.
In anticipation of Santa’s arrival, Saratoga Central Catholic School Choir will regale the crowd with Christmas carols.
People can gather around the Christmas tree, located near Santa’s Cottage on Broadway, near the intersection with Caroline Street, at 6 p.m. Mayor Joanne Yepsen is scheduled to oversee the ceremonial tree-lighting.
Festivities continue from there and last throughout the evening, with a perennial favorite, “Mother Ginger,” from the Nutcracker Ballet, along with her children, greeting passersby and giving out candy canes in front of the Roohan Building.
The “Iceman” will also be creating ice sculptures in the Collamer Building parking lot on North Broadway, and musicians will be performing a variety of holiday-themed music on Broadway and some side streets. In all, there will be 40 different performers at a variety of venues across the city throughout the evening.
Universal Preservation Hall will play host to the National Museum of Dance School of Arts, the Saratoga City Ballet, and the Octavo Singers.
Other singing and performing groups include the Shenendehowa Select Chorus, the all-female Saratoga Soundtrack Chorus, and several a cappella groups. Skidmore College’s Brass Quartet will also be on hand.
All the businesses on Broadway and on the side streets will be open and greeting strollers with candies, treats, hot and cold beverages and merchandise. Visitors will be able to duck inside one of the many restaurants for an appetizer or dinner, and the post office will remain open until 9 p.m., offering a special 30th anniversary postage cancellation created for the evening’s festivities. Visitors can come to the post office with stamped Christmas cards to have them posted with the special cancellation.
Visitors to the Victorian Street Walk will see changes and improvements made to Santa’s Cottage on Broadway. The cottage needed refurbishment and Pellegrini reached out to BOCES construction and trades program at the F. Donald Myers Education Center in Saratoga, to have the work done.
In all, the Street Walk will offer over 35 sites with free entertainment, as well as special DBA coupon books, face-painting, live reindeer and four-legged members of the Newfoundland Dog Club.
CDTA, a gold sponsor in kind for the event, will be shuttling visitors to and from the NYRA parking lot at Nelson and Union avenues, the parking lot of the skating rink on Weibel Avenue, and the Empire State College lot on West Avenue, 5-10 p.m.
Saratoga County’s 12th annual Restaurant Week runs from Dec. 2-8 at participating restaurants throughout the county.
Diners can get three-course dinners for prices ranging from $10 to $30, and lunch specials for $5 or $10. Reservations are suggested. For more information visit the Saratoga Tourism Bureau or go online to www.discoversaratoga.org/restaurantweek.
Running concurrently with Restaurant Week is Toys for Toga, a toy drive benefitting children around Saratoga County. Cardboard boxes will be available at participating restaurants and other locations, and donations in the form of new, unwrapped toys will be accepted. Distribution of the toys will take place at Franklin Community Center, CAPTAIN Youth & Family Services, and Mechanicville Area Community Services Center.
The Village of Ballston Spa’s annual holiday parade and tree lighting, sponsored by Ballston Spa Business & Professional Association (BSBPA), will take place Friday, Dec. 2.
The parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m., proceeding along Milton Avenue and ending in Wiswall Park on Front Street, where Santa and Mrs. Claus will light the Christmas tree.
According to Ellen Mottola, coordinator of the event for BSBPA, the parade has become a “hometown-style tradition, with fire trucks, floats, animals and kids, along with Santa and Mrs. Claus.”
Singers and musicians from Ballston Spa High School will perform, as well as Union Fire Company, who will be performing holiday carols on the street corners. Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus will also stick around after the tree lighting to visit with children at the Ballston Spa National Bank, and again the following morning at the annual Breakfast with Santa.
The breakfast, Saturday morning, Dec. 3 8-11 a.m., will include crafts, kids’ activities and performances by local musicians and singers. The breakfast costs $5.
The parade will spotlight Toys for Tots, in partnership with the Ballston Spa Community Emergency Corps, Saratoga County Sheriff Department and the U.S. Marine Corps. Volunteers from these organizations will be on hand along the parade route to accept donations of new, unwrapped toys. This year’s Toys for Tots Princess is Safyre Terry, whom Mottola said is expected to attend the parade.
“The village pulls out all the stops for this event, filling the village with a merry atmosphere,” said Mottola. It includes musical performances, bake sales and dinners at the local churches.
She added that there is still time for businesses, local groups or organizations to participate. For more information and to register for the event, contact Mottola at 885-2772 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.