The holiday season on the South Shore is kicking into high gear with a numerous festivals and events over the next few weeks.
Donna Hatt, chair of the South Shore Tourism board, said there is a 'sleigh-full' of things to do. The tourism board has put together a website, christmascrawl.ca, providing a map stitching together activities that are happening in the area.
"There are more than 125 activities that have been registered with us and I know that there are dozens more," she said.
One of the first off the mark is the Father Christmas Festival in Mahone Bay.
"It is community-wide and brings people to town in what we call the shoulder season. That was the purpose of starting the festival and it has grown into the most wonderful celebration," said organizer Karen Pinsent.
The 14th annual event will be held over two weeks - November 23 to December 2.
The official festival kick-off is Friday with the tree lighting at the town tree located by the water across from the three churches. This will be followed by a Welcome Celebration at the St. James Anglican Church.
One popular addition to the schedule last year was the Reindeer Flyer Train. It is back and will run Friday through Sunday on both weekends. Another was the three-kilometre Reindeer Fun Run. Last year they ended up with 250 participants. Proceeds will go to Autism Nova Scotia.
This year there will be two additions - a gift guru will be stationed downtown. She will have all the information needed on the shops in town and what you can find at each one. This is in addition to the Festival Welcome Centre at the Visitor Information Centre where you can also pick up your wish list, home tour tickets and festival guides. The Mahone Bay Quilters Guild will be on hand with a large Christmas Quilt display and will answer any questions you may have.
Another is a draw for $100 that is available to anyone that is shopping at participating stores after 5:30 p.m. on Festival Fridays and Saturdays. Just fill in a ballot. Also, don't forget to fill out your wish list for a chance to win all the items on your list (value of over $1,500).
What else is going on? Holiday Home tours, concerts, the Yuletide Gourmet Market, craft shows, children's activities and of course, luncheons.
For more information or to pick up tickets, etc. you can go to mahonebay.com.
Christmas on the LaHave
Fill your cup with some hot chocolate and head on down to check out the annual Christmas on the LaHave, parade and fireworks this Saturday, November 24.
The parade starts at 6 p.m. at the corner of Dufferin and King Street. It will follow along King Street then head up Empire Street before turning down High Street finishing off at the Nova Scotia Community College campus. This will be followed up by fireworks on the waterfront.
Prior to the Saturday evening events, that morning from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. you can enjoy a free breakfast with Old St. Nick down at the Bridgewater Mall.
The town will be dressed up for Christmas. The stores in Bridgewater and area have been invited to decorate their storefront for the season and the 4H community forest Is set up at Veterans Memorial Park and Riverside Park.
You can also take a stroll down Candy Cane Lane at Riverside Park, check out the nativity scene at the corner of Aberdeen and Davidson Drive or get your picture taken with one of six hay bale snowmen scattered through the community.
Michael Graves, chair of the organizing committee, said that they are also working on finalizing details on a "take a selfie with the Snowmen contest." He encourages families, individuals and couples to take photos with the straw snowmen around town, post them to the town's Facebook page and become eligible to win a prize.
Christmas on the Mersey
The Christmas on the Mersey celebration is packed full of activities to get you in the spirit.
One of the new additions to the lineup this year is the, Trees in the Park project, one that will light up the Liverpool river bank for the entire Christmas season.
"We've asked local businesses to participate in this project," said Melissa Robinson, vice-president of the South Queens Chamber of Commerce, who is heading up the project with business owner Chassity Allison. "Businesses purchased a tree for $50 and in exchange they were able to decorate a tree."
The trees will be lit up from November 22-27.
The celebration kicks off November 22 with the tree lighting ceremony in front of town hall. This will be followed by a candle-lit walk to the waterfront at Centennial Park. Participants will meet members of the Mi'kmaq community canoeing down the Mersey with their torches burning bright. They will join the Native Council of Nova Scotia at the great fire pit.
Robinson said that it is also great to see this year the Hank Snow Society come on board this year. They will host a Christmas Jam and Tea December 1 at the Hank Snow Home Town museum and on December 9th, the society will present a Country Christmas Show at the Legion Hall.
Also on the schedule: Festival of Trees and Dickensville at the museum; Christmas Gift Galley and Artisan Craft sale (November 24), the Christmas parade (November 25), the RBC family Christmas skate (December 1); Kiwanis Christmas Concert (December 2); Christmas House Tours (December 8) and the skating club's Christmas Ice Show (December 22).