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Saratoga Springs to usher in holiday season (photos)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
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Santa Claus plays Christmas carols on his saxophone during the annual Victorian Stroll on Broadway in Saratoga Springs in 2011.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber
Santa Claus plays Christmas carols on his saxophone during the annual Victorian Stroll on Broadway in Saratoga Springs in 2011.

— It won’t feel like summer if you’re standing outside, but tonight Broadway’s sidewalks are going to look the way they do on some balmy summer evenings.

The 26th annual Victorian Streetwalk will be taking place from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., and 20,000 to 22,000 people are expected to crowd the city’s downtown. Broadway will be closed to traffic, as it is for the Hats Off to Saratoga Festival during the racing season.

“It’s the biggest thing we do,” said Susan Farnsworth, Victorian Streetwalk coordinator for the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, which sponsors the event.

“Hats Off attracts more tourists. This event attracts tourists, too, but most of the people seem to come from the Capital Region,” Farnsworth said.

Broadway will be closed from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. from the Route 50 arterial to Spring Street. Most businesses will be open until 10 p.m., and will hold open houses and serve free refreshments.

“The Victorian Streetwalk is the Downtown Business Association’s way of saying ‘thank you’ to all our customers for supporting our beautiful downtown throughout the year,’ Farnsworth said.

Past Victorian Streetwalks

View photos from last year's Victorian Streetwalk here.

View photos from the 2010 Victorian Streetwalk here.

There will be more than 50 sites with free entertainment, including live reindeer, Santa and Mrs. Claus, a Festival of Trees at the City Center, and a Toys for Tots Drive on Broadway.

The weather is expected to be cold but probably precipitation-free, according to the National Weather Service — good news for organizers, who say only a storm will keep people away.

“We have the most people when it’s 50 degrees. When it’s colder, it looks like fewer on the street but it’s because they’re packed into the shops,” Farnsworth said.

The new Woodlawn Avenue parking garage means there are 400 more downtown parking spaces than in the past, but shuttle bus service from outside downtown will be available.

The Capital District Transportation Authority will be running free buses every 20 minutes from the Empire State College parking lot on West Avenue, from the Oklahoma track off Union Avenue, and from the Weibel Avenue Skating Rink. The free buses will run from 4:30 until 10:30 p.m.

Special Victorian Streetwalk postal cancellations will be available at the Broadway Post Office from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Information on specific events can be found at www.saratogadowntown.com. (Click here).

Victorian attire is encouraged, though not required.

 
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November 29, 2012
2:35 p.m.
dagiacalone says...

For another annual ritual: The Schenectady Stockade's holiday tree arrived yesterday at Lawrence's Circle (N.Ferry and Front Sts.). Find photos at

http://tinyurl.com/2012StockadeTree

The Tree Lighting will be this Sunday, December 2, at 5 PM, followed by a festive gathering at the First Reformed Church Assembly Hall.

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