NEW BEDFORD — Carving the turkey and giving thanks are only a few days away, but then the holiday season kicks into full swing.
Sure, there are Black Friday deals to hunt down and shopping lists to check off, but for many, the holidays are all about lights, craft fairs, holiday parades and spending time with friends and family.
Last year, the COVID-19 pandemic derailed virtually all of the holiday happenings that have become a tradition in the SouthCoast, but good news, they’re back. Love an old fashioned holiday concert with the classics? Check. Want to bring the kiddies to see Santa? Check. Or maybe it’s the glow of the holiday lights? Then hop in the car and head out for dazzling adventure.
No matter what your taste for the holiday season, there’s sure to be an event that will suit you, so turn up the Christmas music, heat up the cocoa, and get into the spirit of the season as you mark your calendar with these holiday events.
La Salette’s 2021 Festival of Lights
Visitors trek from all over the region each year to see one of the most beloved and popular Christmas displays in the Bay State. Open every day from 5 to 9 p.m. Nov. 25 through Jan. 2 at La Salette Shrine, 947 Park St., Attleboro
La Salette’s Festival of Lights features roughly 300,000 lights illuminating over 10 acres to create a winter wonderland. The theme for this year’s Festival of Lights is “Love is Born.”
Due to the high amount of visitors during the Christmas season, masks will be required at all times while indoors and visitors are asked to maintain social distancing.
Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams
Holiday Lights Spectacular at Roger Williams Park Zoo is an all-new walk-through experience just in time for the holidays. Open select nights from 5 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 26 through Jan. 2, it features festive larger-than-life dazzling displays with over 1.5 million lights.
Tickets are timed-entry and available for purchase online only. Reserve tickets and learn more about the event at www.rwpzoo.org/holidaylights.
The event is held rain or shine but will be closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day at Roger Williams Park Zoo & Carousel Village, 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence.
Christmas Bazaar and Breakfast with Santa
Join the fun and festivities at Our Lady of Grace Parish as it hosts its 34th annual Christmas Bazaar. The bazaar will feature a variety of craft tables with handmade children’s clothing, homemade jellies, and honey, candles, Christmas items of all sorts, wreaths, paintings, teachers gifts, doll clothing, soaps, lotions, jewelry, crocheted and knitted items, healing oils and lip balm and more.
The bazaar will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 27 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 28 at Our Lady of Grace Parish, 569 Sanford Road, Westport.
There will be a craft table set up for kids, and youngsters are also encouraged to bring letters to put in Santa’s mailbox. St. Nicholas will make an appearance from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to visit and take pictures with the kids.
Enjoy Christmas music performed by a live band and bring your appetite because there will be plenty of food. The kitchen is open both days serving a breakfast and lunch menu.
There is no admission fee, plenty of parking and the event is handicap accessible.
A Breakfast with Santa will be held from 7 a.m. to noon Dec. 19 in the parish center of Our Lady of Grace Parish, 569 Sanford Road, Westport. Come and enjoy a delicious breakfast and meet Santa. The cost of $6 a plate and children 5 and younger are $3. No reservations are required. For more information, visit their website at www.ologwestport.com.
SNOW Outdoor Holiday Market
Flakes may not yet be flying, but you can kick off the Christmas season early at SNOW, an outdoor holiday market from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 27, at the YMCA, 271 Sharps Lot Road, Swansea.
Not your grandmom’s typical craft fair, this one-day event by the organizers of Southcoast Open Air Market will be full of local gift shopping, food, entertainment, and nostalgic highlights sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and filled with the spirit of the season.
Middleboro Christmas Parade
“Making Spirits Bright,” the 61st annual Middleboro Christmas parade will be on November 27, with a rain/snow date of November 28.
The Christmas Parade Committee is thrilled to be coordinating another exciting parade that will no doubt gather the community together to ring in the most festive time of the year. We hope to continue a tradition that has brought happiness to young and old alike, spanning several generations.
The parade will begin at 1 p.m. from Burkland School, continue up Mayflower Avenue to Courtland Street, around Station Street, down Centre Street, continue to South Main Street, and return to the Burkland School.
Front & Centre Holiday Market
Four women-owned shops are “Front & Centre” in this charming section of downtown New Bedford at Front, Centre, and North Water Streets. Shop local from noon to 4 p.m. Nov. 28 at 36 N. Water St., New Bedford.
The holiday market features exquisite gifts from bejeweled, The Drawing Room, The Landing, and Salt & Sole.
The Whaling Museum will join the fun with a holiday sing-a-long, sidewalk chalk art contest, and more. Plus, we’ll be joined by some of our favorite artists and makers for demonstrations, pop-up sales, and wine tastings. More detail available at facebook.com/events/1041541299976922.
Holiday Bright Night
The historic Tiverton Four Corners will be all aglow from 4 to 7 p.m Dec. 3 for an evening of holiday shopping and family fun.
The event will feature a festive neighborhood of galleries and shops where you can scoop up holiday décor and special offers to complete your Christmas list.
Luminaries will light the way to stores as well as the annual re-Tree exhibition, an outdoor showcase of homemade trees made of recycled materials created by community members, presented by the Four Corners Arts Center. Vote for your favorite tree before Dec. 17, and the winner of this year’s re-Tree will be honored on Bright Night.
Santa will be waiting for guests young and old at the Cheese Wheel Village Market. Stay for dinner and support the community, as the Four Corners Grille will be donating 20% off their sales to the local food pantry.
Masks and Rhode Island COVID-19 regulations will be in place. For more information, visit www.tivertonfourcorners.com.
Miracle on Pleasant Street
Miracle on Pleasant Street is an art-filled holiday fundraiser in downtown New Bedford. Proceeds help support The New Bedford Art Museum. The festive party includes live music, outdoor dining, a silent auction, and an opportunity to shop for unique gifts created by local and regional artists.
The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Dec. 3, at the New Bedford Art Museum, 608 Pleasant St., New Bedford. Tickets are $75 per member| $85 per non-member and can be purchased at newbedfordart.org.
New Bedford Festival Theatre
Festival Theatre and Executive Producer Wendy Hall invite South Coast audiences to celebrate the December holidays with two unique theatrical events.
On Dec. 3 at 8 p.m., Festival Theatre will celebrate the return engagement of John Michael Dias (Jersey Boys and Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway) as Evita Loca in Professional Christmas Lady.
Professional Christmas Lady will run for one performance at the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Dec. 3.Tickets: $25-$35.
The Randy Andys Holiday Extravaganza
On Dec. 4 at 8 p.m., Festival Theatre will welcome The Randy Andys Holiday Extravaganza.
In their Holiday Fête, The Randys invite you into their annual celebration, highlighting the music and traditions of some of today’s favorite December Holidays. Join the full cast of Randys as they reminisce on their years together and personal heritage they have carried into adulthood. With hits such as “All I Want For Christmas” and “Mele Kalikimaka,” intermixed with songs celebrating Kwanzaa and Hanukkah – and all with a 40s flare – get ready for laughs, delightful choreography, and tight three-part harmonies you will be humming for the rest of 2021!
Tickets: $25-$35. For tickets to both events, visit the Zeiterion website.
On Dec. 3 and 4, Festival Theatre invites audiences to help celebrate the December holidays with Carols and Cocktails, a complimentary holiday party that will take place before and after each of the holiday shows. Toast the start of the 2021 holiday season with holiday sweets, a cash bar, and more. Carols and Cocktails begins at 6:30 p.m, and is complimentary for all ticket holders.
Snacks with Santa – Dartmouth Mall
Grab some yummy treats while hanging with the Big Guy and his special friends. The fun is happening between 8:30 to 10 a.m. Dec. 4 in the Center Court at the Dartmouth Mall, 200 Dartmouth Mall, Dartmouth.
Tickets are required for children only and include a snack pack per child plus meet & greet with their favorite pups. There will be dancing, crafts, and fun for all. The cost per ticket is $15 and can be purchased here.
Photos with Santa are available for an additional fee. Space is limited to allow for physical distancing.
Wes-Mac PTO Holiday Fair
Holiday Fair featuring over 40 vendors, Santa photos, Kids Holiday Shoppe, food and so much more. The fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Old Westport Jr/Sr High School, 19 Main Road, Westport. Admission to the holiday fair is free with a donation of canned goods to benefit the Westport Food Pantry.
Durfee Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair
One of the largest craft fairs in the region returns in-person to Durfee High School for a holiday shopping extravaganza. The shopping will be happening from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5.
The Durfee Christmas Arts and Crafts Fair, now in its 45th year, is a two-day event that attracts thousands of visitors each year and features the handmade work of over 200 artisans from throughout New England.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/ChristmasFairFallRiver.
Middleborough Christmas Market Fest
The Christmas Market Fest will feature Special Guest “Santa Claus,” vendors, cookies, and cocoa, as well as a free raffle. The 8th Annual Town Hall Christmas Tree Lighting will also take place. The Rain or Shine event will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 4 in the 2nd-floor Auditorium of the Middleboro Town Hall, 10 Nickerson Ave., Middleboro. This event is free to the public and more details can be found at www.facebook.com/MiddleboroToday.
dNB’s Holiday Stroll
A fun-filled holiday weekend event for the entire family from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 4. Downtown New Bedford is festive with seasonal activities.
Keep an eye out for a silent soapbox Winter Fairy and Santa Claus as you take in the sights of downtown. Antique fire truck rides will be provided by the New Bedford Fire Museum and special programming will be hosted throughout the community, including a BuyBlackNB Mini Market in Bristol Hall, cookie decorating and hot chocolate at the New Bedford Harbor Hotel, live dancers from the New Bedford Performing Arts Center on the Whaling Museum plaza, youth arts and crafts at the New Bedford Art Museum, a well as various sales, pop-up shops, and food and drink offerings.
It all culminates with the tree lighting at City Hall at 5 p.m.
Stay tuned for more updates and details by visiting www.facebook.com/dNBinc.
Fall River Holiday Children’s Parade
After a year on hiatus, the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Fall River as the 37th annual Children’s Holiday Parade prepares to march back into downtown this December.
The much-anticipated family event will feature beautifully decorated floats, local marching bands, holiday balloons, cartoon characters, a special visitor from the North Pole, and more.
The parade is slated to step off at 1 p.m. Dec. 4 from Kennedy Park, making its way down a festive South Main Street that will be lined with spectators.
A New England Nutcracker
New Bedford Ballet will perform its annual production of A New England Nutcracker Dec. 4 through 12 at the NBB Community Theatre, 2459 Purchase St., New Bedford. Journey back to the 1850s, as this favorite holiday story is reimagined through New Bedford’s historic whaling era, and prepare for the “City That Lit the World” to light up your holiday season.
Ten performances will take place over two weekends: 1:30 and 3 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11, and 12; and 6:30 and 8 p.m. Dec. 10.
Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $7 for seniors, students, and children. Tickets are limited and sell quickly; reserve yours soon by contacting the New Bedford Ballet at (508) 993-1387. Ticket sales for the public begin on Nov. 15. For more information visit www.newbedfordballet.org.
Holiday in the Swansea Village
Swansea’s fifth annual Holiday in the Village kicks off at 5 p.m. Dec. 4 as Case High School performs at the Swansea Dam during the lighting of the town tree. This will be followed by a flurry of fun and festivities scattered throughout the historic Main Street area.
Enjoy a sing-along with a Snow Princess on the steps of Case Jr. High School, which will also host a Touch-a-Truck display. Guests can head into the Case Jr. High gym at 5:45 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 7:15 p.m. to witness magician Skip Daniels amaze audiences young and old.
There will be hot cocoa and cookies waiting for visitors looking to warm up on a chilly night at Swansea Fire Department’s Fire Station No. 1. Boy Scouts will also be on hand outside the station with a family-friendly craft project.
Bring a blanket and watch a holiday movie on the Case Junior High lawn, enjoy performances from a local dance troupe, and snuggle up for storytime at the Swansea Free Public Library, which will host readings of “Twas the Night Before Christmas” as well as offering take-and-go crafts.
Stony Acre Farms will host a petting zoo on the Christ Church lawn and offer wagon rides throughout the night along the scenic Main Street decked out for the holidays. Inside Christ Church Hall visitors will find refreshments and cookie-decorating kits for the kids.
Head to the historic Stevens Home to take part in their holiday giving tree, and don’t forget to get some goodies from the selection of food trucks located behind the library.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/holidayinthevillage.
Sons of Serendip Christmas Concert
The band Sons of Serendip will be returning next month for its third annual Christmas concert in Fall River. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. and music starts at 7:15 p.m. Dec. 4, at Durfee High School, 460 Elsbree St., Fall River.
Best known as finalists on the ninth season of the TV competition “America’s Got Talent,” Sons of Serendip are a quartet consisting of a harpist, cellist, pianist and lead vocalist. Joining them on Dec. 4 will be The Jabberwocks, Brown University’s oldest A Capella group.
Sponsored by Bristol County Savings Bank, the event is free but tickets are required. A limited number of tickets are available at City Hall and online via Eventbrite at www.eventbrite.com/e/christmas-in-fall-river.
In lieu of admission, guests are asked to bring an unwrapped toy for the Fall River Police Department/Law Enforcement Assisting Families annual toy drive.
Parking will be available in the school lots off of Elsbree Street with overflow parking available in the West Main parking lot on Ray Street. For more information and updates on the event, visit https://www.facebook.com/event.
Party and Dine with Santa in Fall River
Greater Fall River Re-Creation is planning a Christmas Celebration on Dec. 5 featuring food, face painting, pictures with Santa, and more holiday fun. The event is free and will be held from noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 5 at 45 Rock St., Fall River.
Follow this up with Dinner with Santa Claus, with a menu of more than milk and cookies, on Friday, Dec. 10, in the Re-Creation gymnasium. Doors open at 6 p.m. The cost for ages 4-12 is $6, ages 13 and older are $12, and children 3 and younger are free. Tickets can be purchased at Greater Fall River Re-Creation.
For more information, visit www.gfrrec.org or call 508-679-0922.
Holiday Tea at the Oliver House
Come celebrate the holidays at the Oliver House this December. The historical house is opening its doors 4 days in December for a Holiday Afternoon Tea. Enjoy a variety of sandwiches, scones, and sweets along with hot tea with your friends and family. The house will be decorated with holiday decorations so enjoy a tour after your treats.
This event is being held from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 7, 9, 12, and 15 at the Oliver House, 445 Plymouth St., Middleboro. Tickets are $30 per person and can be purchased by visiting here. There is a 48-hour cancellation policy with no refunds. Each event is limited to 24 people.
Cookies, Paws and Santa Claus
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in New Bedford. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with Cookies, Paws, and Santa Claus? The Buttonwood Park Zoo is the place to be for sweet treats, festive craft activities, animal counters, unlimited rides, hot cocoa, and outdoor photos with Santa. Train and carousel rides are included, weather-permitting.
The pawsome fun will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 to 2 p.m. Dec. 11,12, 18, 19 at Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn St., New Bedford. Pre-registration is required and tickets are limited for each session. Members tickets are adults $12 and children $10| Non-Member tickets are adults $15 and children $13| Children under 3 are free. Visit www.bpzoo.org for more information.
New Bedford Holiday Pops
Share the joy of the season with friends and family at the best holiday concert in town. The New Bedford Symphony Orchestra plays all your holiday favorites, and the Southeastern Massachusetts Youth Orchestra members join in for a holiday performance that will make everyone merry.
Our family-friendly atmosphere, the festively decorated theater, and your choice of performance times make this the perfect family holiday outing.
Dec. 11: The children’s matinee at 3:30 p.m. features fun surprises for the young at heart – like a visit from Santa and a gift for each child; The 7 p.m. concert features a bit more music. Both performances are approximately one hour long, with no intermission. The tickets cost between $10 to $43 and can be purchased here.
Shows will take place at Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, 684 Purchase St., New Bedford. Visit their website to view complete details on all Health & Safety protocols.
OLOP 2021 Christmas Pageant
The Children of Our Lady of Purgatory Catholic Church will once again help to celebrate the Birth of Our Lord as they present the Story of the First Christmas, and perform traditional and modern Christmas Carols. The story begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 11, at Our Lady of Purgatory Catholic Church, 11 Franklin St., New Bedford.
After the Pageant, there will be the traditional Christmas Party and share some tasty treats, refreshments, and laughter. Word has it, that there will also be a special visitor to take pictures with the children.
Grinch Night at the Fall River Library
He’s a mean one, Mr. Grinch. But rumor has it the green, grimacing grump just might take time out from his busy schedule of stealing Christmas to visit the Fall River Public Library to greet fans of all ages. Kids can pose for holiday pictures with the Grinch in the Meeting Room, and receive a take-home Grinch craft.
Join in on the Christmas fun from 6 to 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Fall River Public Library, 104 N. Main St., Fall River.
Celebrate! – Messiah and Carol Sing-along
Pilgrim Festival Chorus presents its tenth annual Celebrate! – Messiah and Carol Sing-along at 7:30 p.m. Dec.17, at First Congregational Church, 6 Plympton Street, Middleborough.
In Messiah Sings, popular throughout the area for many years, the audience can either sing or listen. For some, there’s no better way to start off the Christmas season.
PFC takes the safety of its members and audience seriously. This season, the singers have committed to being fully vaccinated and are wearing masks for rehearsals and performances. We expect audience members to be vaccinated, wear masks while in attendance, and to keep socially distanced as possible.
Tickets for Celebrate! – Messiah and Carol Sing-along are $10 for adults and youth ages 12 and up, available at the door. For children under the age of 12, there is no charge. Scores are available to borrow on-site, or attendees are welcome to bring their own. Funds raised from this event support PFC’s yearly operating expenses. For more information, please visit www.pilgrimfestivalchorus.org or follow Pilgrim Festival Chorus on Facebook.
Jingle Mingle Open Holiday Party
Family or friend groups, companies large or small need a holiday party? Join Rachel’s Lakeside at 650 State Road, Dartmouth for their Jingle Mingle. It’s time to celebrate the season and DJ George Ayoub Jr. will make this party one to remember! Enjoy our delicious Holiday Buffet during the party. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 17 with dinner being served at 7. To buy tickets or tables visit shop.lafrancehospitality.com.
Breakfast with St. Nicholas
Families are invited to join Saint John of God Parish Family Life at 9 a.m. Dec. 18 for Breakfast with Saint Nick.
Enjoy a hot breakfast, holiday crafts, a movie, and a special visit from Santa at St. John of God Parish, 1036 Brayton Ave., Somerset. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids under 12. Reserve a spot by emailing [email protected]
Fall River Holiday Pops Concert
Fall River Symphony Orchestra, now in its 97th season, is gearing up to perform its annual Holiday Pops concert, featuring all of your yuletide favorites. The music begins at 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at the Margaret L. Jackson Performing Arts Center at Bristol Community College, 777 Elsbree St., Fall River. With the return to in-person concerts, FRSO is adhering to BCC’s masking policy. All patrons must be masked regardless of vaccination status. The FRSO is also requesting practicing social distancing as you select your seat.Tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for children and students. To purchase tickets, visit fallriversymphony.yapsody.com.
Tiverton Winter Solstice Tree Lighting
Join the Tiverton Land Trust from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Dec. 21 — the Winter Solstice — for a tree lighting event at Pardon Gray Preserve, 3460 Main Road, Tiverton. Highlights of the event include the lighting of the tree, holiday photo opportunities, hot chocolate, and more. To sign up in advance for free photos with Santa, visit givebutter.com/WinterSolstice21.
This article originally appeared on Standard-Times: Holiday events in New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Acushnet
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