NORTH KINGSTOWN – Wickford Village will be aglow next Thursday as the town comes together for the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony, a yearly event in North Kingstown that goes a long way to usher in the holiday season.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony is hosted by the North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce, which has hosted the event for more than 10 years.
The event will feature music from the North Kingstown Community Chorus and North Kingstown High School Band, as well as free hot cocoa. After the chorus performs during the ceremony, the tree will be lit after the official countdown, leading to a very special guest making an appearance.
Washington Trust Bank and RI Real Estate Services are also sponsoring the event, with the Starbucks branch in North Kingstown providing hot cocoa.
North Kingstown Chamber of Commerce executive director Kristin Urbach said the annual event brings the community together for the holiday season.
“It brings the community together and families together,” Urbach said. “It’s a great event for everybody to connect and share an experience, especially in this day and age of electronics when everyone’s looking at their phones all the time.”
“It’s a nice opportunity for everyone to get together and get excited about the holiday season, no matter what religion you celebrate,” she added.
Urbach said that, based on social media engagement, the event could bring out thousands of people.
To organize an event for so many people, Urbach explained that there was a great deal of coordination with the town, from decorating and taking care of the tree to providing electricity.
“The town has been very supportive and helpful in managing those logistics,” Urbach said.
The event, Urbach said, also serves as a great opportunity to showcase the businesses of Wickford, which are currently participating in the annual window decorating contest.
“They have their annual window decorating contest that’s during that same timeframe,” Urbach said. “So [guests] can enjoy strolling through.
“Those stores are decorated all month so it’s a great opportunity to arrive to town before the tree lighting ceremony to go to dinner, go shopping, stroll through the village and look at the beautiful lights,” she continued. “I am so proud with what the window decorations of the window merchants create every year. I think it rivals storefronts you’d see in big cities. A lot of these Wickford merchants are very creative and artistic.”
And the week after the Tree Lighting Ceremony, the chamber will also be hosting another holiday festivity, Breakfast with Santa, at the North Kingstown High School Dining Hall.
Breakfast with Santa will include cooking, decorating and holiday storytelling, and, of course, an opportunity to meet and take a picture with Santa. The official chef for the event will by Ryan Audette from Provisioner NY Deli & Cafe, with hot cocoa and coffee provided by Brewed Awakenings.
The Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place at Updike Park on Thursday, Dec. 5, from 6 to 9 p.m.
Breakfast with Santa will be held the North Kingstown High School on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 8 to 10 a.m. If tickets for Breakfast with Santa are purchased before Nov. 29, they are $6 for children under 10 and $10 for adults. After Nov. 30, tickets are $10 for children and $15 for adults.