Santa Claus is coming to town, and sooner than you think.
Jolly Old Saint Nick will visit Carney Elementary School for the Carney Community Tree Lighting, then ride into Parkville on a Providence Volunteer Fire Company truck for the second annual Parkville Community Tree Lighting early next month.
The 13th annual Carney event will be held at 8 p.m. Dec. 2, and is sponsored by the Carney Improvement Association and the Carney Elementary School PTA.
"Santa and Mrs. Claus will visit with children and you can take your own photos. This is the REAL Santa," wrote Carney Improvement Association president Meg O'Hare in an email. "We serve light refreshments and all seem to have a great time at this old fashioned community event."
A flier for the Carney event also asks that attendees bring nonperishable food items to donate to needy families in the Carney area through the Victor's Vittles food pantry.
Later in the same week, Santa will ride into Parkville Shopping Center on a Providence Volunteer Fire Company truck for the second annual Parkville Community Tree Lighting at 6 p.m. Dec. 8.
Parkville's event, which drew 200 attendees in its first year, is organized by the Parkville Main Street Committee, a sub-group of the Greater Parkville Community Council.
Andrea Messier, the group's chairperson, explained that because of the large turnout last year the event has been moved from the Lavender Avenue parking lot to the newly renovated Parkville Shopping Center.
"We asked Regency [Centers, the shopping center's property management company] and they were thrilled to help," Messier said. "They're going to put the tree up for us."
In addition to a visit from Santa, the St. Ursula's school choir will lead the group in carols, and an area cafe will be on hand with hot beverages.
"This year Cafe Euro will be there selling hot apple cider and hot chocolate," Messier said. "Part of what our group is trying to do is promote the small businesses we have—they're a lovely cafe and they're right there."
The way Messier sees it, the event serves more than one function.
"We wanted to give a really nice community feel to the event, promote the businesses we have, and encourage new businesses to move into Parkville by letting them see we have great community spirit," she said.
"I hope folks will come down, have a hot chocolate, meet their neighbors and see old friends," Messier said. "It's a nice time to spend with the kids—even if you don't have kids, everybody likes to carol."
Both events are free of charge and fliers for each are attached to this article.
Will you attend a community tree lighting event in Parkville or Carney this year? Tell us in the comments.