By Times Staff
Gloucester Daily Times
---- — The holiday season gets under way this weekend when the big elf himself, Santa Claus, makes several short visits to Cape Ann to check on who has been naughty or nice.
The rotund holiday icon always travels by boat when visiting the towns on Cape Ann, and last night was no different went he stopped in Essex.
Today, from 8 to 11 a.m., Santa will visit Essex Elementary School for a breakfast fundraiser. Proceeds will go toward the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Santa’s next stop today will be in Manchester, where he will arrive by tugboat at 1 p.m. at Mascomo Park. Instead of being accompanied by his reindeer, employees of Surfari, a surf shop in Manchester, will be escorting Jolly Saint Nicholas on stand-up paddle boards into shore.
Afterward, he will make his way down to Singing Beach by hayride and end his Manchester celebration at the town’s Community Center to welcome the children of Manchester.
Santa’s last Saturday stop on Cape Ann will be in Rockport, where he will be ocean bound again, arriving at Bradley Wharf at 3:35 p.m.
The tree-lighting ceremony will be shortly after, at 4 p.m., kicking off the monthlong Christmas in Rockport celebration.
The tree lighting in Manchester will take place Sunday, at 4:30 p.m. on the Town Common.
Santa Claus already has made one visit to Gloucester, but he’ll make another appearance Tuesday. He’ll stop in at Cape Ann TV’s annual Santa party, from 3 to 7 p.m., at the station’s studio at 38 Blackburn Center. Children are invited to meet the big elf. Meetings with Santa will be videotaped and shown on CATV’s Channel 12 on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. This event is open to the public. CATV is also Project Uplift children’s toy and teen present collection site. For more information call 978-281-2443 or visit www.capeanntv.wordpress.com.