CHARLESTOWN — The Charlestown Holiday Ramble has grown this year, involving more merchants and organizations and expanding from Friday evening to all day Saturday.
The reason for the extension, organizer Lauren Classey said, is to give people time to experience all the festivities.
“This is the first year we’ve extended it through Saturday,” she said. “Everybody’s all set up, it’s a big deal, and nobody can get to all of the locations in the time frame on Friday night. Last year, I went around and I basically polled everybody, and they all wanted it to extend it through Saturday, also for it to be more family oriented. We have Santa riding through town on a fire truck on Saturday now and he’s receiving kids.”
In addition to visits with Santa at the Cross’ Mills fire station on Saturday, there will be plenty of opportunities to eat, drink, shop, sing carols and give back to the community.
Classey said several new businesses are participating, bringing the total to 27.
“I told them that we would do all their free advertising, but what they needed to do is they needed to offer something that would attract people into their business,” Classey said. “So everybody’s stepping up to the plate incredibly. Breachway Bait and Tackle is serving raw oysters Friday night and all day Saturday from 401 Oyster Company, also in Charlestown. I have a place called Edward Jones, they’re a wealth management company, but they’re opening up Friday night and all day Saturday to wrap presents for free.
"Almost everybody’s serving hot chocolate, hot cider, doughnuts, baked goods. The Breachway Grill, for instance, is serving Swedish meatballs Friday night and all day Saturday, the Breachway Gourmet deli is serving hot cups of soup to anybody who comes in. The Charlestown Mini Super … he is offering a free cup of coffee to anyone who comes in all day Saturday.”
The Rhode Warrior gym will also put on a free barbecue on Friday evening.
On Saturday, the Cross’ Mills fire station will be hosting Christmas caroling, open to everyone, at 1 p.m.
At each participating location, visitors will be able to pick up a free ticket to a raffle. The idea, Classey said, is to encourage people to visit all the merchants and groups.
“If you get to all 27 locations, you have 27 chances to win some really incredible gifts,” Classey said. “… The raffle gifts are incredible. I got a gift certificate for the Nordic Lodge for an adult buffet, I got a gift certificate from the Mews Tavern, I got huge, fabulous baskets ... Community Yoga is offering two certificates for one month free of yoga, there are Breachway Grill gift certificates, and it just goes on and on.”
The raffle prizes will be on display at the Cross’ Mills fire house, where donations of canned goods for RICAN will also be accepted.
The First Baptist Church of Cross’ Mills will extend its monthly pancake breakfast to 11 a.m. and breakfast donations will go to help Charlestown residents in need.
Painted “ramble trees” have been installed outside each participating business and group, making it easy for visitors to find their way around. Charlestown police will also have additional units patrolling the town center.
“We’re going to have two more patrols,” Chief of Police Michael Paliotta said. “We’ll have an extra officer going up and down Post Road. In addition, I’ll have two extra units in the Cross’ Mills area and by Charlestown Beach Road near Matunuck Schoolhouse Road.
"We’ll also have two electronic message boards, one at the exit off Route 1 by the liquor store and another southbound at the South Kingstown-Charlestown line. The signs will say ‘pedestrians ahead, use caution.’”
Charlestown police will have a table at the Cross’ Mills fire station, passing out gifts to children.
Classey said it has taken her about a year to organize the ramble.
“I was just trying to pull all the good of this community together, and it’s coming together quite nicely,” she said. “Nobody said no.”
The Charlestown Holiday Ramble will take place on Friday, Dec. 6 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. A complete list of activities and participants, as well as a map, are available at https://www.charlestownriholidaystroll.com/.