NASHUA — Eager to get into the holiday spirit, thousands of people will crowd Main Street Saturday for the 25th annual Winter Holiday Stroll.
“This is our silver celebration,” said Paul Shea, executive director of Great American Downtown. “This event has been progressively growing, and this year we are expecting in the ballpark of 35,000 people to attend.”
The festivities will encompass a large lineup of venues, activities and entertainment throughout the downtown area.
New this year is a holiday gift market that will be on display from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at 201 Main St., featuring more than 40 craft vendors and an array of homemade items for sale.
Santa’s Village will be set up from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 30 Temple St., including train rides, animatronic animal rides, an inflatable snow globe, a photo booth, games, activities and free, take-your-own photos with Santa.
“The biggest value of the Holiday Stroll is that it is a tradition for the community of Nashua, and an opportunity for people who are home for the holidays to connect with one another in a night out on the town,” said Shea. “It is also a big night to promote small businesses.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus will join the mayor and the board of aldermen to lead the procession from Nashua City Hall to the Hunt Memorial Building, where the city’s Christmas tree will be lit. The candlelight procession will begin at 5 p.m., followed by the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.
Much of Main Street will be closed to traffic on Saturday evening after the tree lighting, where live entertainment and samples from downtown restaurants will be offered. Several shops will remain open past regular business hours, according to Shea.
“We try to kick off the holiday season right, and that is what this event is all about,” he said. “We are expecting decent weather and a very strong crowd.”
There will be about 75 groups or individuals providing entertainment throughout downtown on Saturday evening.
Ice sculptures will be on display at the City Hall Plaza in the shape of various “Winnie the Pooh” characters.
In addition, guest speaker Alan Manoian, founder of the Holiday Stroll, will commemorate the 25th Annual Winter Holiday Stroll during the tree lighting ceremony.
“This is all free and family friendly,” Shea said.
Shuttles will be available to transport visitors to the downtown area, starting at 4:15 p.m. at Rivier University and Holman Stadium.
The city parking garages on Elm and High streets will also be available via the Broad Street Parkway.
For more details on the stroll, including a full schedule of the day’s events, visit downtownnashua.org/stroll.