CHATHAM – The town's annual Christmas celebration officially gets underway this Sunday when Santa Claus arrives at the Chatham Fish Pier.
Santa will arrive in style, on the historic CG36500 motor lifeboat, featured in the book and film “The Finest Hours,” at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 3. He'll be escorted by members of the Chatham Coast Guard Station and greet children at the pier.
After making his way through the crowds, Santa will climb aboard a Chatham Fire Department engine for the trip to the community center. Beginning at 2 p.m., he'll hear Christmas wishes and give each child a small gift.
The annual event is sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Lower Cape Cod. Parking can be difficult; carpool or plan to park along Barcliff Avenue and walk to the pier.
Chatham's annual Christmas By The Sea starts the following weekend. The 38th annual celebration runs Dec. 8 to 10, sponsored by the Chatham Merchants Association.
On Friday, the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony will be held at a new location. Instead of Sears Park, the celebration will happen down Main Street at Kate Gould Park, where the Merchants Association has planted a special tree near the bandstand to serve this function in years to come. The event begins with a light procession starting at Carmine's Pizza at 5:45 p.m., with Christmas caroling and the tree lighting following at 6.
Main Street will be decorated with festive trees sponsored by local businesses for the weekend stroll, which will include open houses, raffles and seasonal refreshments. Limited edition stroll hats will be available at Mahi Gold, the Chatham Orpheum Theater, Chatham Cookware and the Mayflower Shop, and will be the prize for the winner of a “Scrabble” themed scavenger hunt.
Other Christmas By The Sea events include Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Wayside Inn at 8:30 a.m.; the Chatham Historic Inn tour at 1 p.m. Saturday; and Storytime with Santa on Sunday, Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. at the Chatham Shark Center.
For details and tickets for some events visit www.chathammerchants.org/christmas-by-the-sea.