Greenwich Avenue to become a winter wonderland

The Fourth Annual Greenwich Holiday Stroll promises to be a fun-filled weekend, abundant in holiday activities for the whole family.

Carriage rides, holiday entertainment, professional ice carving, bouncy castles, live reindeer and more will set the season in motion on Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 from noon to 5 p.m. More than 100 Greenwich merchants and restaurants from East and West Putnam Avenue to Lewis Street to East and West Elm Street to Mason Street and Railroad Avenue and along Greenwich Avenue will be joining the fun festivities and offering special in-store activities. Parking will be free all day Saturday.

Created and produced by TMK Sports & Entertainment, a Greenwich-based event-marketing company, this annual event is designed to provide holiday merriment for the community and to help drive traffic to downtown businesses. Several new elements have been added this year, such as letter-writing to Santa for children, hosted by participating stores, and Santa’s mailboxes located at various retailers.

This year’s Holiday Stroll also has an increased number of restaurants and stores offering special events and since parking is free, shoppers are encouraged to put the money they’ve saved in the Kids in Crisis donation boxes at participating retail stores.

“It’s wonderful to have an event like this in downtown Greenwich to drive economic development for the merchants and showcase this beautiful town,” said First Selectman Peter Tesei. “And since we’ve been through some challenging times recently, it’s nice that there is something enjoyable for the community this holiday season.”

Highlights of the weekend include an ice sculpture competition, sponsored by Greenwich Magazine, which will involve six professional carvers competing on single blocks of ice for a $2,000 purse, from noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday in front of the Greenwich Senior Center, 299 Greenwich Avenue. A panel of judges from Moffly Media, Vineyard Vines and M.H. Heaven Real Estate will choose the winner. The finished creations will be on display through Sunday, Dec. 2 at 5 p.m.

Complimentary New York-style horse-drawn carriage rides, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz of Greenwich, will take passengers along Putnam Avenue from Simon Pearce to Waterworks. Additional carriage rides, sponsored by Citizens Bank, will travel from the bank to Richards of Greenwich and return back on Mason Street. Both carriages will operate Saturday and Sunday from noon to 3 p.m.

Live holiday music is on tap at the holiday entertainment tent, sponsored by Northeast Tent Productions and Greenwich Garden Design LLC, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. in front of Terra Restaurant, 156 Greenwich Avenue. Entertainers include the popular Grace Notes, Greenwich Baptist Church singers, Voices of Recovery and more.

Families can bring their children to complimentary bouncy castle fun in the parking lots at East Elm and Lewis streets. And for those who haven’t been there yet, live reindeer await at McArdle’s Florist & Garden Center, 48 Arch Street, where the Fourth Annual Greenwich Reindeer Festival & Santa’s Workshop takes place through Dec. 24.

Many stores will be offering unique holiday experiences, such as an American Girl Doll party at Little Sparklers in conjunction with Femmegems (reservations required), packing demos at Tumi, complimentary caricatures by Tom Glover at Brooks Brothers, complimentary group dance lessons and refreshments with Mrs. Claus at Arthur Murray Grande Ballroom of Greenwich and more. Simon Pearce will sign glass and pottery purchased at his store on East Putnam Avenue, Bill Humphries, author of The Jersey Project, will sign books at Signature Cycles on Railroad Avenue and Comptoir Des Cotonniers on Greenwich Avenue will hold a coat drive.

Additionally, complimentary refreshments will be available at many of the stores and at the Whole Foods Food Truck, located at 102 Greenwich Avenue, which will provide hot soup, and a tent sponsored by Give Me Five Party Rentals and Catering, at the Greenwich Senior Center.

The Holiday Stroll takes place Saturday, Dec. 1 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 from noon to 5 p.m.

For more information and a list of more than 100 participating retail stores and restaurants, visit GreenwichReindeerFestival.com.

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