The Town of Hampstead will celebrate its annual Christmas Tree Lighting and holiday market on Friday, and if that seems early, it is, but only because Turkey Day is coming late.
“We like [the tree lighting] to be the first weekend in December,” said Hampstead Town Manager Tammi Ledley, “but Thanksgiving is so late this year, if we waited for the first Friday in December we wouldn’t light any of the lights in the town of Hampstead until Dec. 6.”
Thanksgiving Day falls on Nov. 28 this year, which is the latest date it can fall, and so Christmas celebration in Hampstead will start early, 6:20 p.m Friday, with Christmas Carols courtesy of Cub Scout Pack 791. The performance and the tree lighting will take place at Main Street Memorial Park, 1211 N. Main St.
There will also be a 6:45 p.m. musical performance by the Spring Garden Elementary School’s Fifth Grade Instrumental Ensemble, a group that has performed at every tree lighting since the celebration began in 1996.
“It’s a rite of passage in Hampstead,” Ledley said. “If they play an instrument in school they are able to perform at our tree lighting — I was there for both of my children.”
And at 7 p.m., Hampstead Mayor Chris Nevin along with Santa Claus himself will arrive by fire truck.
“Because Thanksgiving is so late this year, Santa is coming for Friday and then he will go back to the North Pole and we won’t be back again until Dec. 6.,” Ledley said. “He will be back here the first three weekends of December, Fridays and Saturdays, at our Santa House.”
There will also be a living nativity from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., put on by Crossroads Church in front of Matthew’s Tire, 1219 N. Main St., while from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. the Hampstead Farmer’s Market will hold their annual Christmas Market at St. John’s United Methodist Church, at 1205 N. Main St.
More information on the tree lighting and other holiday events can be found at the town’s website at www.hampsteadmd.gov.
Ledley said she hopes people will come out and enjoy all the festivities, even if its barely past mid-November.
“A lot of people consider it a Hallmark moment with everyone coming out, getting their hot chocolate, watching the tree lighting and going over to the Christmas market,” she said. “I think the weather is going to be just cold enough to enjoy the Christmas spirit, but not too cold.”