Warren preps for big holiday party Friday


The holidays are officially here — Marilyn Mathison made sure of it.

Ms. Mathison has had a busy few weeks putting the final touches on Warren’s 25th annual Holiday Festival, which runs this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 29 and 30. Jugglers are hired, concerts are scheduled, and Santa has reserved a ride to town for the big weekend.

“Once it starts, I can breathe again,” said Ms. Mathison, who has organized the festival for about 12 of its 25 years.

Though there are many old favorites coming back this year (see story below) there are some new treats as well, including a performance by Circus Dynamics, a mobile juggling and magic team from Barrington. They’ll be walking around town Friday night, spreading cheer and laughs. And the popular fire spinners, A Different Spin, will have a more visible performance at the Masonic Hall. Ms. Mathison is bringing in chairs for seniors, mats for kids to sit on, and has volunteer ushers from the high school to help spectators get the best seats.

“My aim is to make it more visible to everyone,” she said.

The old Warren Armory on Jefferson Street, too, will be bedecked in its holiday finery for the first time since being renovated by Historic Warren Armory, Inc. After the lighting ceremony Friday night there will be a small holiday concert by Mike D. and The All Stars. That runs from 8 to 10 p.m., and beer and wine will be sold; it's a fund-raiser for the holiday festival. Here’s what’s on tap this year (for a full flyer, click the thumbnail.

2013 Holiday Brochure

Friday, Nov. 29

Santa arrives atop a fire truck at the Baker Street Museum. He’ll be there from 5 to 7 p.m.. Meanwhile, there will be a children’s ornament workshop at rescue headquarters on Miller Street, and tours of the Maxwell House, Federal Blues Militia on Baker Street and the Masonic Temple. Also don’t forget to check out Circus Dynamics, which will ramble around Water and Baker streets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A Different Spin fire performance and circus arts troupe is on Narragansett Way at 6:15 p.m. If carols are your thing, the Hugh School Chorus will sing at the Methodist Church on Church Street, and the Mount Hope Vocal Ensemble will perform at 5:30 p.m. on Baker Street.

Just before 7 p.m., fall in line behind the Mt. Hope High School Marching Band as organizers handle out candles in Massasoit Park and make their way toward town hall in preparation for the tree lighting. There, the Mt. Hope Vocal Ensemble will sing as dignitaries and Santa wait and finally light the town’s lights.

Afterwards, everyone is invited to the main fire station on Railroad Avenue for refreshments.

Saturday, Nov. 30

There will be holiday festivities too numerous to mention all afternoon Saturday. From a meet and greet with Santa at the old Senior Center from noon to 1:30, to traditional Wampanoag story teller Annawon Weeden at 1 p.m. at the Jefferson Street armory, the day will be full. Other highlights include moonwalks at the central fire station, Touch a Truck at the main fire station, and the ringing of the Methodist and Baptist churches’ 19th century brass bells from noon to 2 p.m. Again, there are many more events; see www.eastbayri.com for a full schedule.


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Jim McGaw

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.