Christmas comes to Huntington in a big way this weekend, with Santa Claus arriving during Christmas in the City on Saturday, Nov. 30, and the official lighting of Sunken Gardens on Sunday, Dec. 1.
The Santa Parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday at the Huntington County Courthouse and makes its way north on Jefferson Street, ending at The New Huntington Theater.
He'll be in residence inside the theater after the parade until noon to meet with his fans.
Santa's arrival is the kickoff to Christmas in the City, which continues until 1 p.m. in downtown Huntington.
In addition to hosting Santa Claus, The New Huntington Theater is also sponsoring a coloring contest.
Coloring pages can be downloaded at www.count  downtocurtainup.com and must be turned in Saturday between 10:15 a.m. and noon at the theater, where elves will help turn them into ornaments for Santa's tree.
Each child is limited to one entry. Two prize packages, each including gift certificates to the theater and to Toys R Us, will be awarded.
Free pony rides and free rides on the Christmas train will be offered during the celebration. Both the train, sponsored by Wall Legal Services and Smith Furniture, and the ponies, sponsored by Nick's Kitchen, will be set up in downtown Huntington. Santa's reindeer, sponsored by Downtown Salon, will also greet visitors downtown.
Cinergy Metronet will be handing out free hot drinks in front of its store, and Downtown Salon will offer free cupcakes and cookies at the shop. Antiqology will debut new Christmas-flavored ice cream and sodas as well as vintage Christmas items.
Instrumentalists and carolers will perform holiday music.
The lighting ceremony for the annual Christmas displays at Sunken Gardens and Shakespeare Gardens, hosted by the Huntington Parks and Recreation Department, will take place on Sunday, Dec. 1.
The Treblemakers, a musical group from Huntington University, will kick the evening off with Christmas carols. Hot cider and candy canes will be provided by the Parks Department before and after the countdown.
The display is located at Memorial Park on West Park Drive near Dimond Street.
Complete caption: Santa and Mrs. Claus listen to Xavier Wallace’s wish list during last year’s Christmas in the City celebration in downtown Huntington. This year’s celebration on Saturday, Nov. 30, again includes Santa’s arrival and a host of other holiday activities throughout the downtown.