Run, run Rudolph, Santa has to make it to town
Santa make him hurry, tell him he can take the freeway down
Run, run Rudolph, reeling like a merry-go-round
– Chuck Berry, “Run Run Rudolph”
CHATHAM – There will be a lot of Rudolphs running in downtown Saturday thanks to a new event that's been added to this weekend's 41st annual Christmas By The Sea celebration.
“Rudolph's Flight” takes off on Saturday at 2 p.m. The one-mile “fun run” is designed to bring people into town on the second day of the annual Christmas stroll, and the first 150 runners who register will receive glowing red noses to guide the pack.
The annual light parade and tree lighting on Friday evening, followed by the downtown stroll, has always been very popular, but members of the Chatham Merchants Association, the event's sponsor, have been searching for a way to bring in more people on Saturday, said Jenn Allard, head of the committee that organizes the holiday celebration.
“Friday is really the big night,” she said. “But Saturday is spread out, and we wanted something to gather people downtown at a specific time. We thought a family-friendly fun run would draw people.”
Runners will gather in the parking lot off Stage Harbor Road, behind the Chatham Orpheum Theater. Led by the “Rudolphs” with glowing noses, the runners will head down Stage Harbor Road, take a U-turn at Cross Street, head back to the rotary and then on to the finish at the Red Nun. Registration fee is $20 for adults and $10 for those under 18, and a portion of the proceeds will benefit the Chatham Children's Fund. Unwrapped toys will also be collected, Allard said. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest runners as well as those with the best costumes.
Afterwards at the Nun, there will be “hot cider and holiday cheer” as well as “contemporary carolers” and a trolley taking passengers around town, she said.
“We really just wanted to make it an opportunity to get people into town Saturday afternoon,” she said.
This season there's been a special emphasis on decorating downtown for the holiday, with the merchants and several sponsors decking out the sidewalks and Kate Gould Park with professional help from Schumacher Companies.
“Kate Gould is really lit up,” Allard said, adding that merchants decided not to line the park's walkway with decorated trees this year because of a wind-tunnel effect there that has wreaked havoc with them in the past.
“We really focused our efforts on the lights this year,” she said. “It's definitely magical. We hope everybody enjoys and appreciates it.”
Friday night festivities begin at 5:45 p.m. with the light parade. After gathering at Carmine's Pizza, revelers will follow Santa and student carolers to Kate Gould Park for the annual tree lighting ceremony at 6. Santa will take up residence in the bandstand to hear holiday wishes, and carolers and a brass band will provide seasonal music throughout the downtown area.
Another new addition to the stroll this year is the Mom and Pop's Burgers food truck, which will be stationed in the town offices parking lot from 6 to 9 p.m.
Most shops will be open Friday night with holiday refreshments, raffles and sales.
During the stroll, the Monomoy Regional High School Animal Welfare Club will be selling cookies and collecting donations on the lawn of the Cape Cod Five. The club supports the care of both wild and domestic animals, providing donations to local animal control programs as well as rescue efforts. Donations can also be sent to MRHS District, Animal Welfare Club, 75 Oak St., Harwich, MA 02645.
Start Saturday with “Pancakes and Pajamas,” a holiday concert by the Chatham Band at St. Martin's Lodge on Old Harbor Road. The 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. event is a benefit for the Rick Merrill family. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for kids, free for those 5 and under.
Also at 8:30 a.m., the Cookie Express arrives at the First Congregational Church (see separate story). The annual Breakfast with Santa at the Wayside Inn is sold out.
For a different holiday breakfast experience, grab Grub with the Grinch at the Atwood Museum at 9 a.m. The Grinch himself will sit down and read holiday stories. Admission is $16.
Later, from 1 to 4 p.m., the museum will host its annual hearthwarming with cider, cookies and Santa. The Old Atwood House will be decked out for the holidays the way it would have been 200 years ago. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children.
There will be holiday crafts and activities for kids at the Eldredge Public Library Saturday at 10 a.m. courtesy of the Junior Friends. Later, at 1 p.m., the library will host the Cape Cod Carolers who will be dressed in festival seasonal costumes and stroll and sing secular and traditional music throughout the library.
The stroll extends to North Chatham from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Chatham Perk, Chatham Light Liquor, Cape Cod Lantern, North Chatham Outfitters and Chatham Works with treats, open houses and more.
Instead of winter hats, the merchants association this year is selling a Chatham scarf. The $20 scarf, decorated with images of the Chatham Lighthouse, is available in local shops and at the merchants association's website.
“Everything's rain or shine,” Allard said of the weekend's activities. She recommended folks check out the full listing of events at chathammerchants.com/christmasbythesea. “Things are being added every day,” she said.