Shopping locally is certainly something that most of us strive to do. Yet, for one reason or another, we find ourselves bombarding those big box stores and malls and avoiding what’s truly important for our community. Fear not. The neighborhood associations across the East Side will be re-instilling this sense of community during their annual holiday strolls featuring workshops, music, food trucks, different vendors and so much more. Downtown and the West Side have plenty of cheerful happenings to bring to the whole family to, as well. So get out your gloves, bring the family and stroll to your hearts content around the neighborhoods.
Hope Street Winter Stroll
The Hope Street Merchants’ Association will be gift-wrapped in holiday cheer when they host their family-oriented 7th Annual Hope Street Winter Stroll on December 3. As with previous years, the stroll will feature outdoor kids’ films in conjunction with the Providence Children’s Film Festival, fire jugglers that will light up the night, The Extraordinary Rendition Band’s merry music and marching, as well as food trucks, vendors, wreath sales, photos with Santa and much more.
One of the organizers of the winter stroll, Line Daems, co-owner of Kreatelier, is a huge proponent of supporting local businesses and giving back to community. She works closely with Buy Local RI and the Rhode Island Foundation to help ensure that the character of the community is shaped and upheld by local businesses such as her own. By playing a vital role in the local community, Daems states that “Hope Street has many wonderful family-owned
businesses, providing unique products and services with great customer service.
All money that is spent on Hope Street comes back to the neighborhood.” December 3. 4-8pm. Northern part of Hope Street from 5th Street to Rochambeau, Providence. 432-7995.
SoMa Holiday Stroll
The South Main Street Neighborhood Association is holding their annual SoMa Holiday Stroll on December 12. Some activities to look forward to during the event include giveaways, treats and sips that will brighten the day for even the most Scrooge-like person. You’ll also get the chance to visit the many local shops around the area for your gift giving needs including the beloved fashion boutique Shoppe Pioneer.
Natalie Morello, founder of Shoppe Pioneer, had a lifelong dream to bring her keen eye for up-and-coming designers to a shop of her own. “People should shop locally as you get more one-on-one attention and a more unique product then mass market stores. You build a relationship while building the economy,” Natalie says. You won’t want to miss the many eclectic stores and fine restaurants as you walk up and down the street perusing what the different merchants have to offer while enjoying the soothing sounds of carolers instilling that timeless holiday cheer that you know and love. December 12. 11am-3pm. South Main Street and South Water Street.
Thayer Street Holiday Stroll
The Thayer Street District Management Authority (TSDMA) will be holding their annual Thayer Street Holiday Stroll December 2. Along with the street being lit up like a Christmas tree at night, there will be carolers singing your favorite holiday hits as well Santa and his elves wandering the street. The various businesses along the street will also be offering discounts all day long as well as the City offering free parking.
If you’re a big foodie, many of the restaurants such as Kartabar and Froyo World, to name a few, will be offering 10% off your entire purchase. Flatbread Company will also offer free samples and free gingerbread man decorating for the kids.
While you’re basking in the holiday stroll, pay a visit to the opening reception for the 249 Thayer Window Art Gallery by Artbeat sponsored by TSDMA where Tedeschi’s was formerly located. The exhibition entitled In Transition will be here in the early evening and include works from street artist/writer Nick Guilbert and photographer Linda Handel. December 2. All day. Thayer Street. 626-2640.
If you’re the type of person who isn’t sure what to get that special someone during the holidays, visit the Wickenden Area Merchants Association’s (WAMA) Wickenden Wonderland from December 21-23, when Wickenden Street stores will be open later than usual to accommodate those last-minute gift givers.
The Wonderland stroll allows you to shop locally, get festive and even stay for dinner. While you’re there, stop by Campus Fine Wines where the owners, including Vincent Scorziello, are serious about helping you choose the perfect gift for that special someone. When it comes to why shoppers should choose local instead of corporate, Vincent’s thoughts on the matter are highly satisfying: “There are all the usual virtuous reasons to spend your holiday gift dollars locally, like supporting your neighbors, investing in your neighborhood and sustaining the quaint shopping districts. And hey, in the case of Campus Fine Wines, there’s no longer a sales tax on wine or spirits,” he says. December 21-23. Times vary. Wickenden Street.
Celebrate Christmas on Federal Hill
In an event a bit different than your traditional winter stroll, the non-profit organization Eventi on Federal Hill will be sponsoring Festa Di Natale: Christmas in the Plaza on December 6. Located in De Pasquale Plaza, some of the main activities will be an opening candle light blessing, arts and crafts, gingerbread decorating, face painting and a visit from Santa Claus for the kids as well as a gorgeous tree lighting.
Along with these activities, there will be live performances by The Bay View Choir and Dominic Di Pasquale. More importantly, Eventi will be there to collect coats for children in need at the West Broadway Middle School. Help them out because every old or new little coat helps. Also, what holiday would be complete without hot cocoa? Don’t worry, that will be there too. You can even make small donations in exchange for activity tickets upon entry. December 6. 2-5pm. De Pasquale Plaza, Federal Hill. 432-7783, find them on Facebook
Join the Sounds of the Season
Looking for an event where you can actually be a part of the organization? Look no further than the merriment of the 8th Annual West Side Caroling brought to you by the West Broadway Neighborhood Association on December 20.
Before you go caroling, you’ll meet up at Ogie’s Trailer Park for drinks and socializing before heading on your merry way at 6pm sharp. There are planned stops throughout the neighborhood for warm drinks that will soothe your bellies on what is sure to be a cold night just several days before Christmas. After bringing holiday cheer to the good people of the city, your end destination will be at the all new Pizza J at 8pm. Here you can enjoy grinders, pizza and appetizers to warm you up. December 20. 5-8pm. Ogie’s Trailer Park, 1155 Westminster Street. 383-8200.