Cos Cob and Old Greenwich events put town in Christmas spirit on Saturday

Christmas TreeGreenwich First Selectman Peter Tesei noted during a recent Board of Selectmen meeting that “it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” and he wasn’t lying, as several major events will be held this weekend.

The annual town tree lighting was held this past Monday (see story on page 1), and this weekend will see the fifth annual Greenwich Holiday Stroll in downtown Greenwich. But they won’t be the only events this weekend to get people in the Christmas spirit, as both Old Greenwich and Cos Cob hold traditional events on Saturday, Dec. 7.

In Cos Cob it will be the second annual Winter’s Eve Festival behind the Cos Cob firehouse, on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 3 to 7 p.m. More than 700 people attended last year, and that number is expected to grow this year. People will be able to enjoy rides on an antique fire truck as they tour decorated homes in the area. There will be a tree lighting, and Santa Claus will also be on hand for photos with kids.

The event is being sponsored by The First Bank of Greenwich and has volunteer help from local merchants and the Cos Cob Volunteer Fire Company and Fire Police Patrol. Additionally, there will be a Kids Holiday Card Creation sponsored by the Cos Cob Library, carols from the Cos Cob and North Mianus School choirs, live music from 3-Car Garage Rock Band, classical performances by Atelier Constantin Popescu, face painting, food from The Cos Cobber, and raffles for prizes from local businesses.

People coming are urged to bring an unwrapped toy or nonperishable food item to donate to Kids in Crisis.

But this will not be the only event in town on Saturday. The annual Old Greenwich First Light Festival is set for Dec. 7 from 6 to 9 p.m. on Sound Beach Avenue and Arcadia Road. Last year’s expansion of the festival proved so successful that the Old Greenwich Merchants Association was eager to do it again and received permission from the Board of Selectmen at its Nov. 14 meeting to close down a portion of Sound Beach Avenue near the stores to vehicle traffic to allow pedestrians to freely roam the street for the evening.

The event will feature horse-drawn carriage rides down Sound Beach Avenue, carolers, holiday events, and in-store celebrations all along Old Greenwich’s main business district as stores will have extended hours and create a street festival atmosphere. There will be everything from wine tastings to hot chocolate available as well as live music and magic shows. And, obviously fresh from his appearance in Cos Cob, Santa is also expected to make an appearance in Old Greenwich.

A portion of the proceeds from the event will go toward Family Centers, earning the praise of First Selectman Peter Tesei, who called it a “wonderful organization.” Richard Fulton, head of the Old Greenwich Merchants Association and owner of Chilly Bear on Sound Beach Avenue, also praised Family Centers and said he was happy there was a  partnership between them.

The festival will include a mass luminary lighting as part of Family Centers’ Hope Lights Lives Luminary Campaign to benefit the Center for HOPE and the Den for Grieving Kids on Sunday, Dec. 8. On Saturday night hundreds of luminaries will be displayed in Binney Park starting at 4 p.m. to greet the festival-goers as they walk toward the center of town for the fun. This will officially kick off “Luminary Week,” and on Sunday residents in Greenwich and other nearby towns like Stamford, Darien and New Canaan will have luminaries lit on their lawn to honor loved ones who have died or are coping with critical illnesses.

People can still buy luminary kits and find out more about Hope Lights Lives online at Familycenters.org. Additionally, Old Greenwich stores are selling the kits.

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