PASCOAG –Ride through downtown Pascoag on a horse-drawn hayride or an antique fire truck, sample some holiday treats in a village lit up for the season, watch a truck parade and visit with Santa this Saturday, at the 6th annual Victorian Holiday.
Downtown Pascoag & Neighborhood Association puts on the festive event as a way to kick off the Christmas season in the village, and to bring together the community with participation by local businesses and organizations.
The event takes place a week sooner than normal this year, a change DPNA’s Business Liaison Amanda Desjardins says is aimed at increasing attendance and avoiding potential weather cancellations. Typically, the Victorian Holiday is held on the weekend after Thanksgiving, except in 2016, when it was cancelled because of a snow storm.
This weekend, the village will be transformed into sparkling celebration of holiday revelry with dozens of vendor booths lining the downtown area, while local establishments will offer free activities, and kids will get the chance to visit with a special guest from the North Pole.
“For me what makes it awesome, is it’s a huge kickoff to the holiday,” said Desjardins.
The event begins with the Fire Truck Parade, which will depart from A.T. Levy School in Harrisville at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 17, and cover a roughly 5 mile route along Chapel Street, Union Avenue, Centennial Street and Grove Street before entering downtown Pascoag. From there, the trucks will loop up Sayles Avenue and take Irving Avenue before crossing on to Broad Street and heading back to the village center.
Trophies will be awarded to the best decorated of the fire trucks. Participation in the fire truck parade is open to fire departments both in and around Burrillville, and all of the fire districts in town have agreed to take part, as well as three groups from neighboring Glocester.
The final truck carrying Santa is expected to arrive on The Bridgeway in Pascoag at 5 p.m., when Victorian Night will officially kick off as holiday lights in the village, stretching out to Harrisville, are lit.
“The lights are already hung in Pascoag and ready to go,” said Desjardins.
The celebration will encompass a broad area downtown, with free transportation shuttling guests between stops including the Pascoag Library, which will offer a “Victorian Tea,” and Bridgeton School, where the Burrillville Historical and Preservation Society will offer tours and a holiday bazaar.
At Overlook Nursing, guests can take part in a free Gingerbread Contest. Entries can be dropped off Friday, or anytime before 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon.
The shuttle, donated by DATTCO, will run constantly throughout the night, also providing a means for guests to get to activities from parking lots on South Main Street, Overlook, and across from Bradford Court.
Local business will also take part in the fun, with Dunkin Donuts offering holiday doughnut decorating. Brigido’s IGA will pass out warm apple cider and snacks, and other businesses will hand out candy.
“All the local businesses, if they’re open at those hours, will have specials that night,” said Desjardins.
Horse drawn hayrides will depart from Main Street by George’s Pizza from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. At the Pascoag Fire Station, vendors and a face painter will line the indoor bays, while rides on an antique fire truck will depart from an area by the DPNA booth nearby.
Desjardins will continue to accept applications from vendors until the day of the event for an entry fee of just $20. Among those to already sign on are direct sales vendors, crafters, and organizations like No New Power Plant, and the local Boy Scouts – serving hot chocolate from the “Winter Woodlands” area. At the town’s Parks and Recreation booth, residents can sign up to receive a phone call from Santa this holiday season, or donate to the Weekend Snack Pack program.
Desjardins herself will be among them, dressed appropriately as an elf.
“We ask vendors to be as festive as possible,” she said.
Zoie Mercier will also be there, set up beside “Santa’s Village,” collecting items to donate to Boston Children’s Hospital. Read more about Mercier’s charitable efforts here.
Children are invited to sit on Santa’s lap for pictures, a free feature the includes a something gift for each visitor.
“If you go to a mall, you’re going to pay and wait in long lines,” Desjardins said.
Food for sale will include Gabes Kettle Corn, Jessica White Gormet Carmel Apples and Chocolate and Little B’s BBQ Truck. At Austin T Levy, they’ll dole out cotton candy in Christmas flavors. Hot food and refreshments will be also be served at the Pascoag Fire Station.
DPNA will also host a raffle to raise money for local charities.
The association is still seeking help with event setup, scheduled to take place starting at 2 p.m., and community service hours will be given.
“We’re always looking for volunteers,” said Desjardins.
Roads throughout the area will be closed off for the event starting sometime after 4 p.m., and will remain closed until after 8 p.m., when the celebration wraps up. Guests should note that some of the vendors will only accept cash.
More than 1,000 people have attended the family-friendly celebration in years past, which provides guests the chance meet with their neighbors, while getting a jump start on their Christmas shopping.
“It brings our community together,” Desjardins said.
The Victorian Holiday will take place in downtown Pascoag from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov 17. The snow date for the event is Sunday, Nov. 18.