As the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce this year set about to plan its annual Christmas-By-The-Sea celebration in Manchester six weeks ago, the team knew things would have to be different. Well, it is different, and organizers are hoping it’s different in a good way.
Typically, the event takes place over a tight, three-day weekend, starting with the annual Friday night downtown Holiday Stroll, a popular kick off that draws hundreds to downtown businesses. Same for the close out event, organized by the Manchester Womens Club and its lighting of the Friendship Tree at the Town Common, complete with hot chocolate for everyone, prepared by the Manchester Masons.
This year, with the pandemic, avoiding crowds was critical. So was creating a sense of community celebration around the holiday. So, this year, Christmas-By-The-Sea has been stretched out a bit. The extended celebration begins next week, on Friday, December 4 with the Holiday Stroll, and will extend over three days until Sunday. The Chamber has also worked with others to create a series of activities. A downtown Holiday Scavenger Hunt is being run in partnership with Manchester community center. Santa’s Fire Truck Tour is typically hosted from the Fire House in mid-December. This year it will take place on December 6. (Details in the separate article.) Also, new traditions, like Christmas Carolers from the Manchester Essex Middle and High Schools will stroll down downtown, spreading holiday cheer over two days. Finally, Winter Lights of Cape Ann is a new tradition initiated by the Town of Rockport and sponsored by the Chamber, Discover Gloucester, and The Cricket and features bright and festive holiday lighting displays throughout Cape Ann from now until January.
Christmas By The Sea Schedule Of Events
The Manchester Holiday Stroll
Friday 4-6 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Holiday Open House at the Manchester Historical Museum
(check museum website for hours)
Downtown Holiday Scavenger Hunt
Santa’s Tour by Fire Truck
December 12 -13
November 27-January 2