The Friends of Pawtuxet Village, along with the Pawtuxet Village Merchants Association, will sponsor the annual Pawtuxet Village Holiday Stroll Saturday, Dec. 14 with events scheduled throughout the Village starting at 10:30 a.m.
“It brings everyone together,” said Marta Martinez, chair of Friends of Pawtuxet Village, who has been working on the event for 12 years. “Families have something to look forward to that’s here; they don’t have to travel for it.”
She also explained the annual event, which will once again include a tree lighting, carriage rides and carols, also provides an opportunity to create memories for families and children.
The event, which has been a tradition since the 1990s, kicks off with the annual Pawtuxet Village Holiday Sale at the Aspray Boat House from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., featuring handmade holiday gifts by local artisans from Pawtuxet Village.
Starting at noon, horse-drawn carriage rides with Santa will leave every half-hour from the lot behind Cork & Brew (2200 Broad Street) for trips around the Village. Tours will go until 3 p.m. and tickets can be purchased in advanced at Twice Told Tales (2145 Broad Street).
From noon to 5 p.m., participating businesses and restaurants will be hosting open house style events, special sales and promotions and feature special holiday menus.
Throughout the day, kids will also be invited to take part in the Pawtuxet Village Scavenger Hunt, with prizes given out at the end of the day for those who complete the Hunt. For details on how to find the Treasure Hunt map, visit www.friendsofpawtuxetvillage.org/Holiday/Saturday.html.
The evening’s festivities start at dusk (roughly 4 p.m.), with a new celebration, the luminaria display. Visitors are invited to sponsor a luminaria lantern, a paper bag with an LED light placed inside, which will be lined up along the bridge in the Village, then placed around the Children’s Christmas Tree in Pawtuxet Park for the lighting ceremony.
“It’s part of my heritage,” explained Martinez, who is originally from the Southwest. She recalls entire neighborhoods lining the streets with luminarias during the holiday season to create beautiful walkways. She has always loved the tradition but was never able to make it a reality in her current neighborhood. “Since we had this event, I wanted to try it in the Village,” explained Martinez.
She explained 30 luminarias (15 for each side of the bridge) will be available for guests to sponsor, one for $10, two for $15. Individuals can claim their luminaria and attach a note to the lighted lantern in memory or in honor of someone. Funds raised from this project will be donated to the food pantry at the Church of Transfiguration.
“We will be carrying them from the bridge to the Children’s Tree for the lighting ceremony,” explained Martinez.
The lighting ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the small tree near the parkway in Pawtuxet Park (not the large tree near the gazebo). The ceremony will feature carols sung by the Olde English Carolers.
Recently, children provided homemade ornaments to decorate the tree. Martinez explained that they are encouraging children and community members to bring more decorations for the area.
In addition to the festival, Friends of Pawtuxet Village has set up food donation boxes in a number of the businesses in the Village for a month-long food drive for the Church of Transfiguration. Everyone is encouraged to bring items for the boxes while shopping in the Village this month.