Warren welcomes the holidays with small but festive lighting

Town switches lights on at 6 p.m. as Santa visits every neighborhood

By Ted Hayes
Posted 11/27/20

The crowds were small but the holiday spirit was thick in Warren Friday night, as the town celebrated the season by lighting its Christmas lights and welcoming Santa.

Warren's traditional annual …

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Warren welcomes the holidays with small but festive lighting

Town switches lights on at 6 p.m. as Santa visits every neighborhood

Posted

The crowds were small but the holiday spirit was thick in Warren Friday night, as the town celebrated the season by lighting its Christmas lights and welcoming Santa.

Warren's traditional annual Holiday Festival is one of the town's biggest events. Holding it in its traditional format was not possible this year, as the state takes a two-week 'pause' to help control the spread of Covid-19.

Instead, organizer Marilyn Mathison and town officials worked together to hold a more personal lighting event, inviting residents to turn on their lights in unison at 6 p.m.

As the hour approached, downtown Warren filled with small groups of revelers, mostly keeping a respectful distance from others. At a few hundred along Main Street, the numbers were much smaller than the 1,000 or more who usually turn out to the annual lighting. Restaurants and cafes were open and doing a good business.

The town siren rang at precisely 6 p.m., and the small crowds cheered as DPW workers flipped the lights on Main Street, as they did simultaneously in all other town-lit areas.

Four hundred feet above town hall, a drone caught it all. Ms. Mathison's nephew, Max McVay, stood on the sidewalk in front of Citizens' Bank and controlled it with a joystick. He planned to put video of the lightin up on the festival's Facebook page.

A few minutes after the lighting, fire trucks laden with Santa and his volunteer helpers started pulling out from stations around town, with drivers planning to hit every neighborhood.

As Engine 1 wound its way down Water Street, a young boy dressed in a Christmas Elf outfit waved excitedly, getting a wave back from Santa. Paul McCartney and Wings' "Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime" blared out from the engine's stereo as they passed.

Handing out flyers across the street from town hall, Ms. Mathison was enjoying the moment.

"You do an amazing job every year," one woman said as she walked past. "Thank you so much."

"You're welcome!," she asked as they walked away. "How does everyone recognize me with the mask on?"

"The hat!"

Scavenger hunt

The festival continues Saturday, as is the norm, but this year will be special: Instead of dozens of different activities around downtown Warren, there will be just one: A scavenger hunt that will include prizes and goodies to take home. It runs from noon to 4 p.m.

Organizers came up with the idea over the past few weeks and artist Juliette Casselman created a map for "Warren Land" based on the children's game "Candy Land."

There will be 12 stations set up throughout downtown, and residents are encouraged to get a map and follow the clues to each. Volunteers will staffing each and everyone who finds one of the 12 will receive a sticker at each stop.

Those who find all 12 stations and collect all 12 stickers will be registered for a drawing. Prizes will include gifts from local merchants including toys, books and more.

And at each stop, kits will be handed out for at-home holiday activities that residents can complete in their own time.

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