ASHAWAY — Now in its 20th year, the annual Ashaway Holiday Stroll on Dec. 8 is a village-wide endeavor and a beloved tradition.
There are a few minor changes to this year’s offerings, but most of the activities will remain the same.
As always, the festivities will kick off at 8 a.m. with the popular Breakfast with Santa at the Ashaway Fire Station. Participants are asked to bring toys, which will be given to local needy children.
Ashaway Elementary School will hold its annual holiday bazaar, with a couple of new elements.
“They’re offering a new youth crafters’ room, and I believe that these are young crafters that will be selling their wares,” said Hopkinton Recreation Director Mary Sawyer. “There will be caroling outside the building, as opposed to having a concert in the gymnasium, which they used to do.”
Also at the school, food trucks, which were new last year, will serving from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Ashaway Free Library will be accepting donations of non-perishable food items, which will be donated to RICAN. Donors will be automatically entered in a raffle for a Christmas wreath.
Area churches will participate as usual with doughnut decorating at Trinity Lutheran Church, a cookie and craft sale and Christmas lunch at Babcock Presbyterian Church, and a Worship Service and later, Christmas Cantata, at First Hopkinton Seventh Day Baptist Church.
Sawyer noted that new to this year’s stroll is the participation of the Hopkinton Historical Association.
“They’ll be opening the 1790 Meeting House, where they’ll have old maps on display, including a 1939 aerial map of Hopkinton,” she said. “There’ll be complimentary cookies and cider there.”
In addition to $3 horse-drawn wagon rides, a free bus will shuttle visitors to the attractions, which will include tours of seven holiday-decorated homes. The price of a tour is a monetary or non-perishable food donation to the Jonnycake Center, which can be made at the Crandall House.
“We have some on Main Street, Knight Street and Maple Court,” Sawyer said of the open houses. “I want to thank and acknowledge the families who open their homes every year. For the new ones and the ones that can do it only every other year, it’s a very generous thing to do, because in order for people for obtain a map for the house tours, they need to come to the Crandall House and donate to the Jonnycake Center.”
The day will end, as always, with fireworks at Crandall Field, weather permitting. The stroll has not been blessed with good weather the past couple of years, and Sawyer said she was hoping that this year would bring clear skies and a big crowd.
“It’s been iffy,” she said. “There’s so much going on, too, around here. It’s such a busy time of the year. Hopefully, people will attend.”
More information on the stroll, including last minute schedule changes, is available on the Hopkinton Recreation Department’s Facebook page: facebook.com/HopkintonRecDept