PLYMOUTH — The Hometown Holiday Celebration is this weekend, complete with a Festival of Trees, a pajama party, and the Plymouth State University Elves on the town common, sponsored by the Plymouth Rotary Club.
"We've been doing this every year for the past 20 or so years," said Steve Rand of Rand's Hardware, who is one of the town's volunteer event organizers.
"It's become an institution."
The Festival of Trees starts the celebration on Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Plymouth Regional Senior Center. The exhibit runs the same hours on Saturday.
The festival is made up of donated, fully decorated Christmas trees, which are raffled off during the exhibit. The money raised goes to PSU student scholarships.
Also on Friday, child care will be provided free of charge from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Pemi Youth Center.
On Friday night, a contemporary dance ensemble will perform at PSU's Silver Center, while The Nutopians, a group that specializes in John Lennon music, will play at the Flying Monkey Movie House and Performance Center.
On Saturday, the popular Christmas Pajama Party at the Plymouth Elementary School will be held from noon to 3 p.m.
The centerpiece of the celebration is the Holiday Parade at 5 p.m. Saturday, which is billed as "a great family outing."
Residents come early to meet their neighbors, enjoy a Christmas music singalong, look at the town's holiday lights, and decorate cookies with the PSU Elves, while free hot chocolate is served at Main Street banks and the Flying Monkey.
Santa visits the parade on Saturday at 6 p.m. After the parade, Santa will visit with the kids at the Senior Center. For the fifth year, Alex Ray and the Rotarians will host a "Chill-buster" Bonfire and Barbecue on Green Street across from the senior center, which will be followed by fireworks.
On Sunday, attendees can skate for free with Santa at the new PSU ice arena from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Santa will be on the ice for visiting and for free photographs. Free skates are available.
Also on Sunday, Dan Perkins, director of choral activities at PSU, will conduct the 100 voices of the PSU Chorale and Chamber Singers with a professional orchestra in their annual holiday concert A Joyful Noise! Respighi's glorious Laud to the Nativity is the featured work.
The parade committee invites both large and small donations in support of the event. Contributions can be sent to the Plymouth Rotary Foundation — Parade, care of Kelly Beebee, Meredith Village Savings Bank, 131 Main St., Plymouth 03264.