The Town of Bel Air will kick off the Christmas season this weekend with its annual parade and tree-lighting, Festival of Trees, Small Business Saturday and, new this year, a Winter Wonderland at the Bel Air Armory.
The Bel Air Christmas Parade, a 30-year tradition, will feature stilt-walkers and acrobats; local high school marching bands; costumed characters and mascots; beauty queens; performance units, dancers, floats, musical groups and even some special equestrian guests, ending with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Festivities begin with a concert on Main Street in front of the Harford County Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
The parade down Main Street from Lee Street to Shamrock Park begins at 3:30 p.m. and will be followed by a community bonfire and sing-along in Shamrock Park — with free cookies and hot chocolate — at 4:15 p.m., followed by the tree-lighting at Bel Air Town Hall at 5 p.m.
The parade, tree lighting and related events are weather permitting. In the case of bad weather, the event will be canceled and not rescheduled.
A full listing of all the town’s Christmas events can be found at christmasinbelair.com.
Classical Christmas Concert
After the parade Sunday, the First Presbyterian Church of Bel Air will hold a Classical Christmas Concert at 5 p.m. featuring soprano Christine Capozzoli, who will perform a variety of Christmas songs, including works by Handel, Schubert and Bach.
Capozzoli, a Bel Air resident who performs frequently at the church and has also appeared as a soloist in New Jersey and California, will be accompanied by piano and trumpet.
The concert will be held in the sanctuary, at 224 N. Main St., near the route of the Bel Air Christmas Parade.
Parade spectators will be able to attend the parade, as well as the Shamrock Park music and tree lighting ceremonies prior to the church’s concert.
“The warmth of the sanctuary and the comfort of the pews may provide some relief to parade-goers who have been standing outside in the cold,” David Hoyt, a member of the church, said.
The church hosts a variety of concerts throughout the year that are open to all and feature vocalists as well as professional pianists and organists.
The Bel Air Brass, an offshoot of the Bel Air Community Band, has also performed on a number of occasions.
The concert is free but donations are always appreciated, Hoyt said. Donations from this concert will be used to perform needed repairs on the church’s organ.
Festival of Trees
More than 50 trees, 35 wreathes and nearly 20 gingerbread houses will be on display and available for sale Friday and Saturday at the 14th annual Festival of Trees hosted by the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance.
Festival of Trees is 4 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30 at the Bel Air Armory, 37 N. Main St.
The weekend event features uniquely decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses created by local organizations, businesses and individuals and sold by silent auction all weekend. Proceeds will benefit the Cancer LifeNet Program at the Patricia D. and Scot M. Kaufman Cancer Center at University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health.
CCA Festival of Trees also includes local vendors, children’s crafts and entertainment, a café and bake table, basket raffle and much more. Cost is $7; children 12 and under are free. A $2 discount coupon is available at uchfoundation.org.
Breakfast with Santa
Enjoy a buffet breakfast and visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Looney’s Pub from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday.
This breakfast venue offers a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to gather, visit Santa and snap photos. Sponsored by the Chesapeake Cancer Alliance and Upper Chesapeake Hospital Foundation, all proceeds from the event will be donated to Cancer LifeNet at the Kaufman Cancer Center.
Breakfast is $10 for adults, $5 for children 4 and older and free for kids 3 and younger (alcoholic beverages and gratuity are not included; cash only).
From 5 to 10 p.m. beginning Saturday and every night through Jan. 1, Frederick Ward Armory Park, adjacent to the Bel Air Armory, will be lit by more than 30,000 warm lights for the community to enjoy a Winter Wonderland, sponsored by the Town of Bel Air, Bel Air Downtown Alliance and the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation.
Each Saturday will feature special events, including visits with Santa and hot cocoa from 5 to 8 p.m. and carriage rides through downtown Bel Air from 6 to 9 p.m.
While you’re shopping downtown, be sure to stop by the Winter Wonderland Pop-Up Shop on Lee Street, featuring local artisans, or simply enjoy the glow and music on Main Street.
A collaboration between the Bel Air Downtown Alliance, the Greater Bel Air Community Foundation and the Town of Bel Air, the Winter Wonderland is an effort to enhance the Main Street area, create additional foot traffic to boost local shops and restaurants. The project is also supported by Jones Junction, Harford County Economic Development and Visit Harford.
“This project has been a labor of love, many people have said to each other or themselves ‘we should … we could…’ and then another project needs the attention so it is forgotten until the next holiday season,“ said Patti Parker, the Bel Air Downtown Alliance representative who spearheaded this effort. “We pulled together the perfect storm of people that wanted to give the community something, without asking for anything in return.”
The Liriodendron Gallery, 502 W. Gordon St., will host a holiday open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for guests to experience that holiday magic at the historic mansion. Enjoy fresh greenery arrangements, mantle and centerpieces for sale, arts and crafts vendors, live Christmas music, refreshments and a visit from Santa. Suggested donation is $5 per individual or $10 per family. For more information, visit www.liriodendron.com.
The classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” will be shown in the Armory at 3 p.m. Dec. 7. Tickets are free, but are required. Purchase at christmasinbelair.com. Visit Bring the kids and pets for photos with Santa from 5 to 8 p.m.
The Chesapeake Cancer Alliance will wrap Christmas presents on Dec. 14 and 21; prices vary and bring a gift to wrap.
The Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners will host its annual Town Hall Holiday Open House Tuesday, Dec. 3, from 4 to 6 p.m. at town hall. Entertainment and light refreshments provided.
The Rockfield Foundation will kick off the holidays from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3 with the annual Rockfield Manor Tree Lighting for the community. There will be light refreshments, live holiday music and a visit from Santa as a part of the special evening at the manor, 501 Churchville Road. Bring an unwrapped new toy to donate to Toys for Tots as the cost of admission. Call 410-638-4565 or visit www.rockfieldmanor.com.
The Historical Society of Harford County, 143 N. Main St., will host a holiday decorations class Thursday, Dec. 5, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Learn how to make unique holiday arrangements with a local floral designer. Cost is $10. Bring your own container. Greens will be provided. Speakers will also recount the history and myths surrounding holiday plants and the history of Christmas cookie creations. Call 410-838-7691 or visit www.harfordhistory.org.
Harford Artists Gallery will welcome visitors to its Holiday Open House & Sale on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Armory Marketplace behind the Armory. Enjoy holiday shopping for unique gift items and original artwork created by local artists. Call 410-420-9499 or visit www.artinharford.org.
The Hays House Museum Holiday Open House is Saturday, Dec. 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. at the museum, 324 Kenmore Ave. Tour the Hays House Museum decorated with fresh greens and holiday arrangements by the Country Garden Club of Harford County. Admission is free. Call 410-838-7691 or visit www.harfordhistory.org.
The 13th Annual Merry Tuba Christmas returns to Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St., on Dec. 15 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Come and bring your tubas, euphoniums and baritone horns. Bring a music stand, dress festively and decorate your instrument. Registration fee $5 for musicians; music cost $15 (unless you have music from a previous Tuba Christmas event). Registration for musicians begins at 2:30 p.m. and rehearsal will be at 3 p.m. Concert begins at 5 p.m. and audience admission is free. Call 410-391-7832 or visit www.belairmd.org.
Latest Harford County
Wishing Star Theatre presents “A Christmas Carol” on Dec. 28 and 29, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Liriodendron Mansion. It’s a dramatic reading based on the Charles Dickens novel. Readers will bring the story to life in the historic setting of the Liriodendron Mansion. Program is for ages 10 and up. Tickets are $15 for adults and $7 for children ages 10 to 18. Order tickets online at www.liriodendron.com or by calling at 410-879-4424.