Events to kick off Christmas season
Santa Claus is coming to town, and Newark kids will have three chances to meet him this weekend.
The festivities begin tonight with the city’s Winterfest celebration, which has marked the unofficial start of the Christmas season in Newark since 1995.
The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Main Street’s Academy Lawn, with Santa’s arrival and the tree lighting ceremony set for 6:30.
The festival also includes an ice-carving demonstration, roasted chestnuts and a chance to take photos with Santa, as well as performances by Ms. Denise and the Newark Community Band.
Regular downtown parking fees will be in place. The rain date is Saturday
evening; call 302-366-7147 for weather-related cancelation information.
The Reindeer Run, a 5K that benefits Special Olympics Delaware, will be held in conjunction with Winterfest, beginning at 7 p.m. in front of the fire station on Academy Street. Day-of registration is $30.
Last year’s event drew more than 1,500 participants and raised $61,000 for Special Olympics Delaware. In the event’s 11year history, more than $405,000 has been raised.
“Because of the uniqueness of this event, it attracts people from all over the area,” Lisa Smith, director of development for Special Olympics Delaware, said in a prepared statement. “Whether you are a serious runner or just want to bring the family to downtown Newark for Winterfest, participating in the Reindeer Run and Romp is the perfect way to give back to the community during the holiday season.”
On Saturday morning, the Newark Parks and Recreation Department will host Snack with Santa at the George Wilson Center on New London Road.
The annual event includes games, crafts, snacks and photo opportunities with Santa from 9:30 until 11:30 a.m. Vendors will set up Santa’s Secret Shoppe, where kids can buy gifts under $5 for family members and friends. Admission is $2 per person.
On Saturday evening, Newark resident Christa “Brandy” Fowler will invite the community to her home to view her light display and visit Santa.
The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m. at 27 Winslow Road. Parking is available on Winslow, Townsend and Orchard roads.
Fowler started the event last year, explaining that while growing up in Newark in the 1970s and 1980s, she treasured her annual trips to Newark Shopping Center to see Santa Claus. Feeling nostalgic after watching old buildings get torn down and other parts of Newark history fall by the wayside, she decided to start a new Christmas tradition.
She decorated almost her entire front yard with Christmas lights, hired someone to play Santa and took out a newspaper ad inviting the general public to her yard.
“The city of Newark is changing so much,” Fowler said last year. “I thought I’d bring back something I loved about Newark.”
Gabriela Siebecker, 6, talks to Santa as dad Matt looks on during last year’s Winterfest.