NARRAGANSETT – The Festival of Lights, one of Narragansett’s time-honored holiday traditions, kicks off on Sunday, Dec. 8. The event will spread itself across the whole of Narragansett and incorporates much of the diverse community for a day of cheer and joy. While the all-day, free, family-friendly event is put on by the town’s parks and recreation department, parks and rec director Steve Wright affirmed the festival would not be possible without input from the whole community.
“As the parks and recreation director, my thanks go out to so many people and so many different organizations that partner and work together to celebrate our Festival of Lights,” he said.
And since so many factions of the local community dedicate time to putting on the event, there’s no shortage of fun activities for all to enjoy. The day begins with Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by the Narragansett Lions Club, at Trio Restaurant from 8 to 11 a.m, and continues throughout the day and into the evening.
A week from Sunday, the Festival of Lights kicks off at The Towers, 35 Ocean Road, beginning at 10 a.m. with the opening of the Towers Gift Shop and music performed at the Towers by Narragansett High School. Narragansett Pier Middle School will take over the holiday tunes beginning at 11 a.m., and at 12 p.m., the Narragansett Elementary School Chorus will take the spotlight to close the concert. The fun continues from 1 to 3 p.m. with face painting by “Sally Doodles” and DJ Dylan Catalado’s Christmas Karaoke and Carols. Fancy Faces will also be offering face painting from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., have cameras ready for pictures with Santa. Also, injecting some magic into the holiday celebrations will be Nathan the Magician from 3 to 5 p.m. Live music at the Towers resumes from 3 to 4:30 p.m.with a performance by “Black Tie Band.” Finally, holiday trolley rides from South County Trolley are available from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m.
The Narragansett Community Center:
Holiday-themed activities will also be available at the Narragansett Community Center, 53 Mumford Road, beginning with arts, crafts, music and pizza in the upstairs portion of the building from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Also during this time, artist Don Landgren, Jr. will be completing caricatures. Singer/songwriter Aivan Durfee will also perform from 1 to 2:30 p.m., and Santa will visit the community center at 2 p.m.
As the festivities draw to a close and evening sets in, Gazebo Park is where most Festival of Lights activity will shift, including the town’s tree lighting at 5 p.m. This year, the Town was donated a 28-foot-tall tree from residents Bob and Maryann Crellin that had previously sat in their yard for 32 years. The lighting this year is dedicated to Grace Reddington, a local 14-year-old who died in April due to Rett syndrome, a genetic brain disorder. Ocean State Tree Crew and South County Post and Beam donated their crew and equipment to set the tree at no expense to the taxpayer. Narragansett student Declan Connor will serve as the evening’s special guest tree lighter.
Further, from 4 to 5 p.m., the Narragansett Lions Club will be serving hot chocolate along with cookies courtesy of Cool Beans Cafe. Hot cider courtesy of George’s of Galilee will also be available, along with music from DJ Jason Citrone and a fireworks display coinciding with the lighting of the tree.
The Maury Loontjens Memorial Library will be hosting Holiday Bingo with prizes, seasonal activities, snacks and more from 1 to 2 p.m. Registration is required and is available at narlib.org or by calling (401) 789-9507. Hot-air balloon rides by REMAX are also available to the public from 2 to 4 p.m. From 3 p.m. to 4:45 p.m., scenic trolley rides along the sea wall are available with a pick-up at Dunkin Donuts at 94 Point Judith Road. A luminary stroll featuring deals and refreshments such as cookies, hot chocolate and other treats at every participating shop is also scheduled from 4 to 6 p.m. Finally, Narragansett Boy Scout Troop 1 will be placing luminary candles along the sea wall for the evening’s festivities. A parade with Santa will also proceed to the Pier Marketplace after the tree lighting.
Wright concluded by testifying that the event serves as a reminder of the benefits of a small, tight-knit community.
“My personal opinion from the number of Festival of Lights that I have attended and organized from our parks and recreation perspective is it’s all about community spirit,” he said. “When the entire community comes and works together to celebrate the start of the holiday season and enjoy the day-long festivities with family, neighbors and friends. This Festival of Lights event and the community spirit it generates is a reminder as neighbors, friends and family why we all work, live, go to school, and enjoy Narragansett so much.”
While all of the day’s events and festivities are free and open to the public, those participating are encouraged to bring a canned good donation to the community center and an unwrapped toy donation to the Towers to benefit the Jonnycake Center of Peace Dale.
To learn more, please visit narragansettcoc.com/event/festival-of-lights/.