By James Niedzinski
---- — Editor's note: Santa will be arriving in Essex earlier than the original story said. He will arrive at the town landing at 6 p.m. Friday.
Jolly Saint Nicholas may make the rounds with his reindeer and sleigh in some other parts of the world, but he always travels by boat when visiting the towns on Cape Ann.
And while he was bringing cheer to Gloucester’s Main Street last Sunday, he will be making his voyage to Rockport, Manchester and Essex over the next few days.
The Christmas spirit this weekend will be starting in Essex, with the lighting of the ceremonial memory tree taking place today at 6:30 p.m. at Town Hall on Martin Street.
The lighting of the holiday tree will commemorate lost loved ones, and people will be able to hang ornaments on the tree. Sue Lufkin is apart of an ad-hoc Holiday Committee, and said it is not too late to sign up and hang an ornament. For more information, call Lufkin at 978-768-7122.
Santa’s first stop this weekend will be in Essex as well, when he arrives Friday at 6 p.m. at the Town Landing by the Essex River. From there, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will go to the Waterline Center of the Essex Shipbuilding Museum to listen to the Christmas wishes of Essex Children.
”Little kids always make it a point to see Santa Claus,” Lufkin said. “He gets a great turnout.”
On Saturday, from 8 to 11 a.m., Santa will also be stopping by the Essex Elementary School for a breakfast fundraiser, providing he does not fill up on milk and cookies. The money raised will go toward the school’s Parent Teacher Organization.
Santa’s next stop will be in Manchester, where he will be arriving by tugboat at 1 p.m. at Mascomo Park.
Peter Webber, the senior vice president for the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, said he will be accompanied by his usual flotilla. Employees of Surfari, a surf shop in Manchester, will be escorting the rotund holiday icon on stand-up paddle boards into Manchester.
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. The tree lighting in Manchester will take place Sunday, at 4:30 on the Town Common.
Christmas in Rockport
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., and that will kick off the monthlong Christmas in Rockport celebration.
Dorothy Stoffa has been involved with the festivities in Rockport since 1984, she was one of the first residents to support a townwide Christmas celebration in Rockport. She even helped write the lyrics for Christmas in Rockport, which is now a staple of the town’s tradition.
Stoffa said she is also the center of another long standing tradition in Rockport.
“Every year I get to kiss Santa on the cheek,” she said.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at email@example.com.