On Thursday night, at the Victorian Streetwalk, Santa will sit in his little wooden cottage and listen patiently as, one by one, hundreds of children tell him what they want for Christmas.
As the kiddies go home and get tucked into their beds, ol’ St. Nick might think about taking Mrs. Claus over to the Saratoga Springs Heritage Area Visitor Center.
This year, there’s going to be a new wine tasting event at the Visitor Center, with samples from vineyards across New York state.
The 31st annual Victorian Streetwalk, organized by the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, is scheduled from 6 to 10 p.m., and gets rolling around 5:30, as carolers serenade the crowd that’s lining up along Broadway waiting for Santa.
Just before 6 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will rumble into town in a horse-drawn carriage, escorted by dozens of area schoolchildren dressed as elves.
At 6 p.m., Mayor Joanne Yepsen will light the holiday tree in front of Putnam Market.
Throughout the evening, there will be free entertainment at 35 downtown sites plus strolling street performers.
The Adelphi Hotel, which re-opened this fall after a major five-year renovation, is a new venue, and the Octavo Singers of Schenectady will perform on the grand staircase in the elegant lobby.
Saratoga City Ballet will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker” downstairs at Saratoga Arts.
“People may be used to seeing the City Ballet and the Octavo Singers at the Universal Preservation Hall,” says Tonya Pellegrini, the D.B.A.’s director of marketing and promotions. “Those two groups have been moved. UPH is closed, to get ready for their massive renovation.”
The Skidmore Circus Club, which will be outdoors near the post office, is a new addition to the event. “They do acrobats and juggling and hula hoops,” says Pellegrini. “They’ll be interacting with the kids and doing small circus acts for the kids and their families.”
This year, the D.B.A. is also hoping people find their way to Phila Street.
“Hattie’s, Ben & Jerry’s, Bailey’s restaurant, Harvey’s, all of those locations will have live music,” Pellegrini says.
Back on Broadway, a big firetruck will be parked at the Division Street intersection.
“They’ll have the ladder up and they’ll have some elves,” she says.
- Mother Ginger, a favorite “Nutcracker” character from the National Museum of Dance’s School of the Arts, will be near the Eddie Bauer building.
- This year’s select middle and high school choruses will be from Burnt Hills, Shenendehowa and Glens Falls schools.
- Actors from Homemade Theater will be strolling in their costumes for “A Christmas Carol,” which opens Dec. 8 at the Spa Little Theater.
- The annual Saratoga Festival of Trees, with more than 250 twinkling decorated trees, wreaths and other holiday items, will be happening at the Saratoga Springs City Center.
- The Saratoga County 4-H Club’s annual display of gingerbread houses will be in three locations: Saratoga Arts, Saratoga Springs Public Library and the. Saratoga Springs City Center.
- Animal lovers will want to check out the Newfoundland dogs at the Saratoga Springs Visitors Center.
- The Saratoga Springs Post Office will be stamping greeting cards with a special Victorian Streetwalk cancellation. “People bring down their holiday cards. You have a month to get them in the mail after that night,” says Pellegrini.
- The D.B.A. will be selling its 2018 Local Living Guide, a booklet of coupons and discounts, in front of G. Willikers toy store. The entertainment books cost $15.
— Karen Bjornland
31st Annual Victorian Streetwalk
WHEN: 6-10 p.m. Thursday (Nov. 30)
WHERE: Downtown Saratoga Springs
HOW MUCH: Free
PARKING: Broadway will be closed to traffic from 5 to 9 p.m. from the Route 50 arterial to Spring Street. CDTA will run free shuttle buses every 20 minutes from 4:30 to 10 p.m. from the Empire State College parking lot on West Avenue, from NYRA’s Oklahoma Track at East and Union avenues near Northway Exit 14 and from the Weibel Avenue Skating Rink parking lots.
NO DOGS: Because of the large crowd, pets are not allowed
MORE INFO: www.saratogaspringsdowntown.com, Facebook
They turn back the clock at Impressions of Saratoga
Ankle-length dresses and bonnets, stove pipe hats and waistcoats. Nineteenth-century clothing is an emblem of the Victorian Streetwalk.
And if you want to see these styles of yesteryear, it’s best to visit Impressions of Saratoga.
The owners and employees of the gift store have dressed in Victorian garb for one night every year since the first Streetwalk in 1986.
“We have a lot of fun with it,” says Maddy Zanetti, president of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association and a co-owner of the store with Marianne and Dave Barker. “There are almost 10 of us that are all dressed up.”
Each year, on the Thursday after Thanksgiving, a rack of hats and clothing is wheeled out of storage, and employees select and assemble their outfits.
“Over the years, we’ve collected various pieces of Victorian garb from different places,” says Zanetti. A former employee, a Skidmore student, also made some of the clothes. “Some of the girls don’t wear the hats. They just wear their hair back in a little bun.”
Victorian shoes are hard to come by and are too small for today’s woman, so the women at Impressions wear riding or paddock boots with their long skirts.
“People get a kick out of it,” Zanetti says. “They love asking us about the outfits. They want pictures with us.”
— Karen Bjornland
Kids can visit Santa’s cottage
Have your kids been naughty or nice?
They can tell Santa all about it when they visit him on Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
Santa will be in his cottage from 6 to 10 p.m. during the Victorian Streetwalk.
After the Streetwalk, he’ll be there from 4 to 7 p.m. on Fridays and from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sundays, through Dec. 23.
— Karen Bjornland
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