Gardiner’s annual Days of Light holiday celebration will feature the annual parade with St. Nick and will be themed Parade of Lights, according to a news release from Gardiner Main Street Director Patrick Wright. Parade entrants are encouraged to walk, dance or ride floats adorned with festive lights. The parade will begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, as night falls upon Gardiner.

Following the parade, Gardiner Main Street and area merchants offer a variety of Childrens’ activities and shopping opportunities throughout Downtown, including sharing Christmas wishes with Santa in Johnson Hall, cookie decorating at Founding Farmers, a Cake Making competition for Johnson Hall’s 150th anniversary, holiday movies at Bam Jam Candy Shop, and more. Before the parade, the public will have a unique opportunity to ride in the horse-drawn carriage that will carry Santa in the parade from 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Downtown Gardiner is an official location for Small Business Saturday. Gardiner’s “Cash Mob” organizers will support a small business shopping frenzy of competitive shopping: From 1 to 4:30 p.m., the shopper who spends the most in Downtown Gardiner, and the shopper that buys from the greatest variety of businesses, will receive a gift basket of prizes donated by local merchants. A gift wrapping station will be set up in Gerard’s Pizza. Friday nights in December, many retailers will be open extended hours, until 7 p.m., for Destination Downtown, with fstive entertainment, wreath sales.

Throughout the holiday season, the public can participate in two ongoing contests; Elf on the Shelf and a judging a merchants’ Window Decorating Contest. Adapted from the popular children’s tradition, the elf will visit various locations throughout Downtown Gardiner. The public is encouraged to find the elf and comment on his location at Gardiner Main Street’s Facebook page (‘selfies’ are encouraged, as is use of #gardinerelf). The first to find him at each location will be entered into a prize drawing of a Gardiner gift basket. For the window decorating contest, participating businesses will have ballots that members of the public may submit to name the most festive window display. Those that submit ballots will be entered into a separate prize drawing.

Gardiner’s annual tree lighting ceremony will take place on the first day of December with caroling, dancing and hot chocolate at 5 p.m., and the tree lighting by Santa at 6 p.m. Details on these events, parade registration (due Dec. 1), and more can be found at

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