Holiday tree lighting season begins in earnest in East Providence

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EAST PROVIDENCE — The holiday tree lighting season and appearance by "Santa Claus" locally began in earnest last weekend with the annual Crescent Park/Looff Carousel event held Saturday, Nov. 30.

Santa arrived to the Carousel by escort of the East Providence Fire Department.

The Carousel Commission oversaw the event, which included the tree lighting and other decorative lighting around the famed city landmark, which will remained illuminated each evening throughout the season.

Holiday events continue this weekend with the third annual East Providence Recreation Department "Winterfest" Saturday, Dec. 7, at the Senior Center grounds located on Waterman Avenue. Santa will arrive by fire engine at 5 p.m. to light the winter landscape of trees that will remain illuminated from 5-9 p.m. through January 5.

The evening will feature a concert at 6 p.m. by the Swinglane Orchestra with East Providence vocalist Carroll Venable sponsored by Heritage Days Inc. Additionally there will be a variety of arts and crafts vendors, food, beverages and baked items from Mrs. Claus' Kitchen. Children's activities will include treats and photos with Santa as well as ornament making. This event is free and open to the public.

City Hall gets back into the holiday festivities with the return of a Christmas tree and decorations at City Hall Center. The tree lighting takes place Friday, Dec. 13, at 5 p.m. The Riverside Middle School Choir performs. Refreshments in the form of hot chocolate and cookies will be served. The interior of City Hall will also be decorated. Santa is expected to make an appearance. The event is free and open to the public.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.