MIDDLEBURY — The holiday season in Middlebury officially kicks off with Santa’s arrival on Saturday, Dec. 7, at 9:45 a.m. Santa will ride into downtown Middlebury by firetruck over the Cross Street Bridge and up Main Street, going around twice to give everyone time to see him. He’ll end up at the Middlebury Community House, where children can visit with him from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A juggler will be on hand to entertain those waiting in line and families can take an old fashioned horse-and-wagon ride through downtown Middlebury. Visits with Santa and the rides are both free.
It is all part of a celebration called Very Merry Middlebury
Holiday shoppers are in luck on Saturday. Anything purchased in Middlebury can be wrapped for free at 51 Main from noon to 4 p.m. — only a receipt is required. Shoppers can take a break and enjoy a cozy cup of hot cocoa from the always-popular Hot Cocoa Hut in Cannon Park; it’s just 25 cents for a cup with all the fixings. The Hot Cocoa Hut will be open from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Better Middlebury Partnership’s Very Merry Middlebury committee has planned a festive and fun-filled month of December, complete with visits from Santa, horse-and-wagon rides, Stag and Doe Night, a breakfast with holiday characters, an “I Spy” contest with prizes, the Hot Chocolate Hut and free gift wrap for items purchased in Middlebury.
The I Spy contest runs Dec. 1-31. Anyone who finds all 10 tiny gingerbread men hidden in 10 store windows in downtown Middlebury will be entered to win $100 in Middlebury Money. Rules and contest details will be displayed in the window of the Vermont Bookshop beginning Dec. 1. The contest is free.
Also throughout December, the whole family can pose for pictures with an assortment of adorable character cut-outs around town, including Santa, a nutcracker, gingerbread siblings, and snowmen (or ladies). Posing with the character cut-outs is free.
Stag and Doe Night, sponsored by WhistlePig, is on Wednesday, Dec. 11. Middlebury stores will be open late for extended shopping, and there will be restaurant and drink specials and tastings by WhistlePig, Lincoln Peak and more. To really make it a party, there will be a photo booth (with props) and a DJ playing music in Cannon Park. The Hot Cocoa Hut (Cannon Park) and Gift Wrap Station (51 Main) will both offer extended hours as well — everything is open from 5-8 p.m. The tastings, gift wrap and photo booth are all free.
Children will have another chance for a free visit with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m. to noon at Maple Landmark Woodcraft. Also on that day, the Middlebury Inn will host a pancake breakfast complete with a cast of characters that includes an ice princess, a gingerbread man, a penguin, a snowman and a reindeer, all sure to entertain the little ones. This event will also include balloons, a photo booth (with props) and a placemat to color featuring all of the Very Merry Middlebury characters. There will be two seatings, at 8:30 and 10 a.m. Tickets are on sale now at the Middlebury Inn: $8 for adults and $5 for children.
Also on Saturday, Dec. 14, free gift wrapping of items bought in Middlebury (with a receipt) is available at 51 Main from noon-4 p.m., and the Hot Cocoa Hut is open from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
Santa will make one last trip to Middlebury on Saturday, Dec. 21, from 10 a.m. to noon, this time at Danforth Pewter, after which he will head back to the North Pole to get things ready for the big day. This is a free event.
Also on the 21st, shoppers will be able to finish up any last-minute shopping in Middlebury, with free gift wrapping again from noon to 4 p.m. at 51 Main for items purchased in town. The Hot Cocoa Hut will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more information about Very Merry Middlebury, email firstname.lastname@example.org.