Santa returns to Cape Ann, among other holiday events  

DAVID LE/Staff file photoIn their 2015 visit to Rockport, Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to hundreds of cheering spectators after boarding the back of a fire truck at T-Wharf.

Santa Claus will ditch his sleigh for a lobster boat during his visits to Cape Ann this weekend.

He was already in Gloucester last weekend, but Rockport, Essex and Manchester will host their own seaside Santa events where children of all ages are welcome to attend. And this in addition to a slew of holiday events scheduled for later this month. 

First up, Jolly Ol' Saint Nick will pull into Town Landing off Main Street in Essex on Friday, Dec. 6, at 6 p.m. The event will feature carols and refreshments, and children will have an opportunity sit on Santa's lap and tell him their holiday wishes.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, Santa will ride to T Wharf in Rockport at 1 p.m. Once ashore, he'll ride atop of the town's forest fire truck, alongside local Cub Scouts, to Rockport Baptist Church where he'll pose for photos. By 4 p.m., Santa will be on the move once again to Dock Square for the tree lighting ceremony. 

Manchester, however, will host a pancake feast before Mr. Claus touches down on Saturday. The town's Santa-by-the-Sea event will begin with breakfast from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Antique Table, 7 Central St. Then, Santa will make his seaside entrance at Masconomo Park, 60 Beach St., at 1 p.m. How will he appear in two different towns at the exact same time? Well, that's a mystery you'll have to ask Santa himself to unravel.

But after a meet-and-greet with the children of Manchester, he'll lead the Jingle Bell Walk procession to the Manchester Community Center's holiday party on Summer Street. The event will feature a petting zoo, crafts, face-painting and family entertainment.

Shopping days

Anyone wanting to shop small for the holidays should look no farther than what Cape Ann has to offer.

Gloucester's Ladies’ Night will take place on Thursday, Dec. 5, followed up by Men's Night on Thursday, Dec. 19. Downtown shops will be offering discounts and refreshments from 5 to 10 p.m. each day. Shoppers are also invited to vote for their favorite holiday window display before Dec. 19. More information on the contest is available at

Rockport stores will be open until 8 p.m. or later during Rockport's Annual Holiday Shopping Night on Friday, Dec. 6. Some businesses will offer special deals and refreshments for shoppers. To participate in the raffle, drop off all tickets to Roy Moore's Fish Shack Restaurant by 8:30 p.m. Winners will receive two Cape Ann gift certificates worth $50. 

In addition, Rockport Makers' Festival, featuring wares available to purchase from more than 40 artisans, will return Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15, at various downtown spots. Visit for a map of participating locations.

Manchester's Holiday Stroll will also be held Friday, Dec. 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. Participating businesses will be handing out passports for shoppers to get stamps at each shop they visit. An Apple Watch will be raffled off at the Antique Table; the winner will be announced at 8 p.m.

Other holiday fun

The Gloucester Middle Street Walk will stroll out on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Guests will enjoys historic house tours, concerts and special programs all along Middle Street. At the end of the event, the Gloucester Lobster Trap Tree, decorated by local schoolchildren and others at Cape Ann Art Haven, will be lit at the police station, 197 Main St., at 4:30 p.m. There will be caroling and an open house at Cape Ann Art Haven, 180 Main St.  

In Essex, the Memory Tree will be lit on Thursday, Dec. 5, at Town Hall at 6:30 p.m. in honor of lost loved ones. 

After a Christmas concert at Manchester's First Parish Church, 10 Central St., the town will host its own tree-lighting ceremony at the Town Hall Common, 10 Central St. The concert is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. and the ceremony will follow at 4:30 p.m.

At the end of the month, Rockport will host its mainstay Live Nativity Pageant on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 5 to 6 p.m., in Dock Square and Main Street. Members of the community will be dressing up and acting out the story of Jesus' birth. Now entering its 74th year, the annual performance draws crowds of hundreds. The following week, Rockport will celebrate New Year’s Eve with more than 80 shows by 40 different acts at 17 venues on Tuesday, Dec. 31, from 6 p.m. to midnight.

For more information on all these events, visit

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or

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