Havre de Grace, Aberdeen events celebrate the sights and sounds of Christmas season

Santa Claus waves to spectators along the downtown route of last year's Havre de Grace Christmas Parade.
Santa Claus waves to spectators along the downtown route of last year's Havre de Grace Christmas Parade. (Courtesy photo / Adam Rybczynski)

Havre de Grace’s downtown is lit up for the Christmas holiday and will ring in the season Friday with the annual parade and tree-lighting during Holly Jolly First Fridays.

The holiday themed First Friday event features extended store hours, food vendors, holiday gift vendors, 42nd Street roaming carolers, stilt walkers and fire pits on Franklin Street and Pennington Avenue, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.


Patrons can shop the Christmas market and food vendors, or stop by the fire pit on Pennington Avenue.

Holly Jolly First Fridays will include the city’s annual Christmas parade and tree-lighting. The parade from Washington Street to St. John Street begins at 6 p.m.

Following the parade, Santa Claus and Mayor Bill Martin will light the city's Christmas tree in Rochambeau Plaza, signaling the opening of Santa Land on Washington Street.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will return to Santa Land on Saturday, and also Saturday, Dec 15, from noon to 2 p.m. before returning to the North Pole. There will be a drawing for two new bicycles and accessories during the Dec 15 event.

Guests are invited to shop, eat and take in the sights and sounds of Havre de Grace, and experience the holidays in small town America.

Havre de Grace

La Banque de Fleuve on St. John Street is hosting Holiday Tree Jubilee, a collection of decorated holiday trees donated by local business and organizations.

Similar to the Festival of Trees in Bel Air — where the trees are bought by silent auction or the “buy it now” price — proceeds from the Holiday Tree Jubilee benefit the Havre de Grace Independence Day Commission.

The Jubilee began Thursday with a cocktail party and continues today during Holly Jolly First Friday. After a $1 donation at the door, trees can be bid from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. For information, contact Taryn Martin, tjmartin712@gmail.com or 443-243-3161.


A Bel Air family recently attended the Christmas tree lighting at the vice president’s residence on the grounds of the Naval Observatory in Washington.

The Jubilee is also a stop on the Lock House Museum’s 46th annual Candlelight Tour on Saturday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Enjoy historic and fun homes and attractions throughout Havre de Grace.

The Holiday Boutique at the Lock House will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds help the Lock House celebrate and share Havre de Grace history with visitors at no charge. Shop for holiday gifts among handmade crafts, objects d’art and homemade goodies, both savory and sweet.

Visit the Concord Point Lighthouse Holiday Gift Shoppe Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for crafts, lighthouse gifts, baked goods and more.

Also Saturday, Havre de Grace High School, 700 Congress Ave., will present its rendition of the holiday classic “A Christmas Carol,” about a grumpy old man who learns to love again. Showtimes are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and tickets are $5 to $10.

Steppingstone Museum will feature Harford Holiday Traditions on Saturday, 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The museum will be decorated and the paths and buildings will be illuminated. For families, there will be a make-and-take wooden ornament station, “Punch and Judy” shows and visits with Father Christmas. Turn-of-the-20th century period cooking demonstrations and Christmas exhibits from Harford’s past will also be featured.

Looking ahead, Havre de Grace High School Jazz ensemble will present “Home for the Holidays” Dec. 12 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Cultural Center at the Opera House. Special guests for the celebration include Suzanne Chadwick, Jason Solounias, Saxl Rose and David Tramontana.


Homes entered in the Citywide House Decorating Contest will be judged Dec. 14-15. Register your home by calling 410-939-2100. Winners will be announced at a subsequent meeting of the City Council.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, join John and June Gallagher for A Family Christmas Concert from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Havre de Grace Maritime Museum. Tickets are $10 for adults and free for children under 10. It's an afternoon of holiday music for the entire family – gift bags with treats and small toys will be distributed to all children in attendance.

Havre de Grace United Methodist Church will host its Christmas Cantata on Sunday, Dec. 23.

Aberdeen holiday

Just because Santa and Mrs. Claus already arrived in Aberdeen doesn’t mean the Christmas festivities are over. A variety of events are scheduled throughout December to get local residents in a festive mood.

For for the 2018 Best of Harford County. Voting runs through Dec. 14.

Aberdeen VFW Post 10028, 821 S. Philadelphia Blvd., will host its VFW Breakfast with Santa on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The event is free to all, so grab the family, stop by and make sure to get a photo with Santa.

Grove Presbyterian Church, 50 E. Bel Air Ave., will present Sounds of the Season on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., a night of holiday music and fellowship. The theme this year is “Jesus Christ, Our Christmas Lamb.” Grove's choir and guests will perform a program of holiday music. Guests include Zoe Coppola on the harp and Elizabeth LaDana on flute. No tickets are required and all are welcome. After the program everyone is invited across the parking lot to Mitchell Hall for refreshments.

Aberdeen Fire Department will host its annual Breakfast with Santa on Dec. 15 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Rogers Street Fire Hall. Tickets are $8 for adults, $4 for children ages 6 to 12 and free for ages 5 and younger. Tickets are available for purchase at the door. Santa will be there, rain or shine.

Parents are invited to bring their young students to the Chick-fil-A of Aberdeen, 1001 Beards Hill Road, for Cookie Decorating With A Cop on Dec. 18, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. Students can enjoy a free cookie courtesy of Chick-fil-A, and can also color, issue tickets to police officers, and have conversations with police officers.

The 2018 Reindeer Run 5K will be held Dec. 22 beginning at 8 a.m. in Festival Park on N. Philadelphia Boulevard. Registration is still open. This is the third race in Blue Cheetah’s holiday running series. The 5k features a finisher’s medal for all participants, as well as a custom 50/50 cotton and poly tech-blend short sleeve T-shirt, and other swag. A portion of proceeds benefits the National PTSD Foundation, a 501(c)3 charity dedicated to helping first responders suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. The race sold out three weeks early last year, so early registration is recommended, at Register.Bluecheetahtiming.com or at Active.com. Cost is $25 per person in advance, $30 per person during packet pickup or race day.

Listen for Santa’s sleigh on Saturday, Dec. 22. Escorted by the Aberdeen Police Department, Santa and his elves will make their way around Aberdeen during the traditional Christmas On Patrol. The sleigh will follow the chief of police, who will have his sirens on — so you can hear them coming. Follow the Aberdeen Police Department page on Facebook for updates on their location.