– The community will get an extra dose of Christmas cheer with a new day of the week for the 25th annual tree lighting and an extended holiday shopping experience downtown.
“Kids will enjoy it more,” said Terry Battaglia, event coordinator and owner of River Wellness Community in downtown.
Usually held on a Thursday night, the lighting of the tree and Santa visit at the fire house will be held Friday, Dec. 8, starting at 5 p.m.
Battaglia revamped the holiday stroll last year and recently took over the tree lighting as well. It was previously spearheaded by the Plainville Chamber of Commerce.
The Plainville High School band and chorus will start the event with a carol sing-a-long followed by remarks by Battaglia, Town Manager Robert Lee, town and school officials and the fire company.
Toffolon Elementary School student Noah Olson will turn on the lights and call for Santa.
“It’s usually families with children that come to the firehouse, Santa comes in on a sleigh and there’s singing,” said Kathy Pugliese, chairwoman of the Town Council, during a recent meeting.
Children will get a chance to meet Santa inside the firehouse after the tree lighting. The holiday stroll downtown will start at 4 p.m., featuring horse drawn wagon rides and maps to guide people around downtown.
Over a dozen businesses participated in the stroll last year with shoppers stopping in and getting their maps stamped for a chance to win raffle prizes. The Plainville Merchants Association, a small group of local businesses, organizes the event.
Battaglia said a total of 18 businesses will be taking part this year, three of which are not located in the downtown area and will be considered bonus stamps.
“It’s really growing,” she said.
Friday night will be only the first part of the stroll this year, on Saturday shoppers can continue their journey through the map from 11 a.m., until 4 p.m.
Southington’s Bradley Mountain Farm will have “reindeer” goats at the Chesnuts store on Whiting Street during the Saturday morning stroll with Plainville’s Elvis tribute singer Tino Garcia leading the caroling in the afternoon.
Another new addition to the holiday events will be luminaries donated by local organizations to ‘Light the Way’ for shoppers around town.
Lisa Melninkaitis, owner of Chestnuts, put together the fundraiser and so far several organizations and schools have contributed.
More information can be found on the tree lighting and holiday stroll Facebook page.
“It is really exciting to see this wonderful community event not only continue, but to grow,” Battaglia said. “It really shines through that the heart of Plainville is the community, town, and businesses all coming together and making this event happen.”