By Gail McCarthy
---- — Saturday in Rockport will be a day full of free events, including the 66th living Nativity pageant, which is followed by a free community sing at the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Then, on Sunday, Santa comes to town.
The idea of a living pageant originated with Dr. William F. Strangman and Mrs. Aldro Hibbard as a gift from the Rockport Art Association to the seaside village in the late 1940s.
The torch-lit reenactment takes place at 5 p.m., starting in Dock Square and proceeding up Main Street to the lawn of the Congregational Church where the manger shelter has been erected. People line the streets or wait on the lawn where the narrated event finishes.
Each year hundreds of spectators gather to watch the story unfold about the birth of Jesus and sing carols.
Then starting at 7 p.m., Rockport Music will host a Holiday Community Sing featuring Rockport High School madrigal singers and host Bill Hausman.
This concert is free to the public, no tickets are required.
Gillian Hurst, a Rockport High graduate of 2010, will be the guest soloist. Last week, she was part of the Westminster Symphonic Choir, which sang with the Simon Bolivar Orchestra of Venezuela at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
For the regulars — and for those who wonder about Santa’s visit in Rockport on Christmas morning — the event takes place this year at 10:30 a.m.
Jay Smith, one of the organizers, who remembers this tradition from his childhood, as do hundreds of others, reminded those interested that this event does not last long, so being on time is important if families are pondering coming down to Dock Square for the first time and don’t want anyone disappointed.
People often begin to gather before the time of arrival, when children line up to greet the man of the hour. Others watch from nearby on the street to see the horse-drawn Santa go by waving to onlookers, who then go to Dock Square where bags of treats are handed out.
Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.