With Thanksgiving fast approaching, local chambers of commerce are gearing up for what they hope will be a fun-filled, and lucrative, holiday season – usually the last boost for businesses before winter takes a hold of the East End.
“We are trying to make a big deal of it this year,” said Phil Bucking, the owner of the Sag Harbor Garden Center and corresponding secretary for the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. “I think we are trying to stay close to home, support the local businesses, which are local families. We want to try and have activities in Sag Harbor so people don’t need to go elsewhere – they can do their shopping here and be entertained here.”
While not officially sponsored by the Sag Harbor Chamber, Bay Street Theatre – a chamber member – will kick off festivities in Sag Harbor with a holiday party on Friday, December 4 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The evening will feature raffles and silent auctions with a $40 ticket also buying you house beer and wine and appetizers provided by the Deli Counter.
Chamber events will commence the next evening, when jolly, old Saint Nick, otherwise known as Santa Claus, will make a special trip to Sag Harbor to meet children at Bay Street Theatre from 4 to 6 p.m., where holiday movies will also be shown. Following Santa’s visit will be the traditional Christmas Tree Lighting on Main Street from 6 to 7 p.m. The annual lighting of the menorah will also happen that evening.
Bucking said the chamber also planned on continuing a recent tradition of offering residents an Art Walk following the tree lighting. The walk will begin at the Windmill on Long Wharf at 6 p.m. and tour the galleries throughout Sag Harbor, which will stay open late and feature special exhibits.
The following week, the Sag Harbor Girl Scouts have planned to carol on Main Street in the late afternoon into the early evening on Friday, December 11.
Bucking said the chamber also has other holiday festivities and promotions in store for the Sag Harbor community, including some stores staying open late for holiday shopping and running specials centered around a 12 Days Before Christmas theme.
Tonight, Thursday, November 19, the chamber plans to finalize its holiday campaign at its monthly meeting, open to members and non members alike, at Paradise on Main Street, Sag Harbor at 6:30 p.m.
According to Chamber President Robert Evjen, the chamber will host a Holiday meeting at The American Hotel on December 14. Evjen said the chamber is in the midst of developing a new advertising campaign, “Celebrate Sag Harbor.”
“We will celebrate Sag Harbor – its stores, its people, its assets,” said Evjen. “This is a wonderful place, to shop, to dine, to visit great art galleries. We are open, we are fun and we are friendly.”
East Hampton’s Chamber of Commerce is also rolling out is holiday schedule, debuting its activities on December 5 as well, starting with the Santa Parade in East Hampton Village at 10 a.m. On December 12, the chamber will sponsor a holiday stroll through the village from noon to 5 p.m. with area stores decorating their windows for the season and offering up holiday treats. That same day, a holiday tour of the village’s inns, bed and breakfasts and other special places is planned. Lastly, the chamber will host a holiday luncheon for $40 at c/o Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton.
The Southampton Chamber of Commerce is planning a new event for the holiday season, called “It’s A Wonderful Village.” Starting November 27 through December 20, the village will be sparkling in holiday lights and cheer, with businesses offering promotions in celebration of the holiday season and each business will boast a “Peace Wreath” on its door, wreaths decorated solely with that merchant’s goods.
On Saturday, November 28, Southampton Village will host a “Holiday Tour of Roger’s Mansion,” as well as an outdoor movie presentation of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” at the corner of Main Street and Jobs Lane. Between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. that same day, the Sweet Adelines will bring holiday music to the streets of the village business district.
Festivities will continue on Saturday, December 5, where between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. carolers will be throughout the village as visitors enjoy the chamber’s annual Southampton Country Holiday with old fashioned horse and buggy rides by Carriage Experience, followed by the 13th Annual Parade of Lights featuring decorated vehicles from area fire departments, including Sag Harbor. This year, the chamber will bestow one company with a trophy for “The Best Decorated Fire Truck.”
Following the parade, at 5 p.m. visitors can enjoy Southampton Chamber’s annual tree lighting at Agwam Park which will feature holiday singing by the Voices of Southampton High School Chorus (VOSH). A reception will follow the lighting, complete with Santa Claus, at the Southampton Cultural Center.
Santa will be back to visit the children of Southampton on Saturday, December 12, from 2 to 4 p.m. at Rogers Memorial Library. Before Santa and his reindeer land in the village, Ceido from Ice Sculpture Designs will perform a demonstration on Main Street in front of village hall.
The Chamber will continue their holiday celebration on Saturday, December 19 with another performance by VOSH, who will carol throughout the village business district while residents and visitors enjoy another round on the horse and buggy. At the chamber office, from 1 to 3 p.m. Santa will be back for a village, with photos provided by Southampton Village Photo.
For more information on Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce holiday events, call 725-0011. For more information on East Hampton Chamber of Commerce events, call 324-0362. For more information on Southampton Chamber of Commerce events, call 283-0402.