HAVERHILL — With the holiday season approaching, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce has added a new twist to the annual downtown Christmas Stroll and Penguin Pub Crawl.
Instead of both events happening the same night, they will be held on back-to-back nights. Organizers said this will allow adults, including parents, to participate in the pub crawl one night, then enjoy the stroll, a family event, on the following night.
But before the festivities can begin, the chamber is looking for a huge Christmas tree to be put on display in downtown Washington Square. Traditionally, the tree is donated to the city by a member of the community who is willing to have the tree cut from their yard. The Department of Public Works will remove the tree at no cost to the person who donates it to the city. The much-anticipated tree lighting ceremony will take place toward the end of this year’s stroll.
Due to the growing popularity of the pub crawl and stroll, the chamber’s Downtown Haverhill Committee decided to occupy two evenings with winter-themed activities this holiday season. The Penguin Pub Crawl will be held Friday, Dec. 7, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The Christmas Stroll is Saturday, Dec. 8, from 4 to 8 p.m.
Last year’s events promoted downtown by luring thousands of guests, hundreds of pub crawl participants, and tens of thousands of dollars in revenue for downtown merchants, organizers said.
“We expect that adding an extra day to our already successful events will only enhance our efforts more,” said chamber President Sven Amirian. “The pub crawl acting as a stand-alone event will allow adults and parents to participate, and still give them an opportunity to include their children and families on the following night. Additionally, we hope that bringing residents and outside visitors into our downtown two nights in a row will give greater exposure to our city and bigger revenue for our downtown businesses.’’
Guest emcee, meteorologist Matt Noyes will host the Christmas Stroll for the second year in a row.
The format of this year’s Penguin Pub Crawl has changed and will offer two divisions. An Individual Division, which is free to participate in, will award entry into raffle prize drawings. A Team Division, which will come with a higher tier of prizes, will include gift bags for participants. To participate in the Team Division, teams must pay $100. Typically open to all participants, an after-party will be open to teams only and there will be a limit of 25 teams. Sign-up information will be released soon.
This year’s Christmas Stroll will boast a tree-lighting ceremony and a variety of activities, including Creative Haverhill’s Shops@90Wash, which promotes shopping with local artisans, locally prepared food in the tented Food Court, “A Christmas Carol” on Wingate Street and rides along downtown streets compliments of Haverhill Bank. Children can enjoy gingerbread decorating, ornament making and face painting. Live performances of traditional and new music will be in Washington Square. A Christmas village is at Haverhill Bank and the annual Christmas Castle is in Pentucket Bank’s Community Room.
The Christmas Stroll was recently voted “the most anticipated community event” in a survey done by the Creative Haverhill organization. More information about this year’s stroll is available online at HaverhillChamber.com.
Anyone who has a tree that would make a good Christmas tree for the city is asked to contact the chamber at 978-373-5663 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to provide your name, the address where the tree is located and a telephone number. The deadline is Nov. 16.