By GAIL LOWE
WAKEFIELD — Decorate your hats — or your umbrella if it rains on Saturday — and come on down to the Americal Civic Center on Main Street where the fun begins at Wakefield’s sixth annual Holiday Stroll.
The Civic Center will be a happening place Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. when festivities get underway.
Seven hundred shopping bags bearing the Stroll’s logo will be handed out on a first come, first served basis at the Civic Center, so plan to arrive early.
As in years past, Chairman of the Event Planning Committee (EPC) Paul DiNocco is hoping to draw even more than the approximate 7,000 people who “strolled” Wakefield’s downtown last year.
“We want people from all over to know that Wakefield is a great place to shop, dine and have fun any time of the year,” DiNocco said.
Keyboard artist Ricky McNamara will entertain at the Americal Civic Center while children make Frozen masks and cutouts. There will also be a mini art display and other fun activities.
And anyone who brings a donation for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry or toy for the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots annual drive will be entered into a raffle to win a gift certificate to The Farmland or Walgreens.
At 2:45 p.m. revelers entering the “Hat Parade” will be asked to assemble for the “grand march” down Main Street, all to music played by Wakefield Memorial High School’s Marching Band, under the direction of Performing Arts Director Thomas Bankert.
A glance at the schedule shows a day packed with song and dance, magic, juggling, balloon art and face painting. And this year, instead of two horse-drawn carriages, there will be three horses clip-clopping their way down Main Street. A “roaming railroad” along Albion Street will also delight the younger set.
Something new this year is the “re-opening” of the old, iconic Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light building on Albion Street where 12 vendors will set up shop to sell their wares, including Glitz Kids, Silpada Silver Jewelry and Fringe. Shoppers will have a chance to enjoy a complimentary cup of hot chocolate while warming up.
Make a point to stop by the Daily Item on Albion Street and enter your name in a raffle for a pretty artificial Christmas tree. Also, strollers can view bound copies of the Daily Item from decades ago — all the way back to the 1800s.
Also on Albion Street, look for the ever-popular Kris’ Kernels popcorn stand, offering free bags of popcorn.
And remember to support the non-profit organizations throughout the Stroll — Boy Scouts; Doyle, Walton and Woodville schools PTOs; Italian Club (working toward a trip to Italy); Wakefield lacrosse; Wakefield Boys & Girls Club and Wakefield Track Frozen Frolics.
Following the Stroll, local restaurants will offer specials, including PhuKet, the Dockside, Harrington’s Food & Spirits, Sakura and Laurie’s 9:09 Raw Bar and Steakhouse.
Here’s the line-up of entertainment and activities by area:
Lincoln Street at Main Street (outside 9 Albion St.)
3:45-6:45 p.m. Horse drawn carriage rides ($5 adults; children under 36” free)
Commencement Area — Beebe Library steps (Main Street)
3:30 p.m. Holiday Stroll begins
3:40 p.m. Elsa, Anna and Olaf Frozen characters at the Holiday Travel tent, 402 Main St. (from 4 to 4:30 p.m.)
East Boston Savings Bank, Main Street
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Nazareth Trinity Singers
5 to 5:30 p.m. Wakefield Memorial High School A Cappella singers
6 to 7 p.m. Kevin Moore (guitarist/vocalist)
The Savings Bank, Main Street
3:30 to 4:30 p.m. Robert Clark (magician and juggler)
5 to 7 p.m. Betty’s Bounce (Audie and Zach Bridges and Curtis Doo)
Wakefield Co-operative Bank, Main Street
3:30 to 4 p.m. Wakefield Music
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Hot Sauce
alano Building, Main Street
3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Magic Mike (balloon artist)
3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Paint the Moon (face painting)
Unitarian-Universalist Church, Main Street
4 to 4:30 p.m. Wakefield Memorial High School strings
4:30 to 5 p.m. Galvin Middle School Band
5 to 5:30 p.m. Galvin Middle School strings and chorus
5:30 to 7 p.m. Carissa Scudieri, singer
2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Olaf (from Frozen)
3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Anna and Elsa (from Frozen)
3:45 to 5 p.m. Twisted Magic
4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dickens carolers
Dance Studios — Beebe Library Plaza
4 p.m. Catch the Funk
4:30 p.m. Dance Studio of Wakefield
5 p.m. Dance Tack
5:30 p.m. Miss Krystn’s Dance Studio
6 p.m. Movement Dance Studio
6:30 p.m. Synergy Dance Studio
9 Albion St. (former WMGLD building)
4 to 6 p.m. David Kurdzionak and Me Abominable Snowman jazz trio
4 to 6 p.m. Wakefield Memorial High School drum line
3 to 7 p.m. Roaming Railroad ($3 per ride)
Sakura Organic, Main Street
6 to 7 p.m. Amy and Jim from The North Ave. Band
Bella Tesori, Lincoln Street
5 to 5:30 p.m. Dolbeare School Brownie Troop 65412 carolers
Event Planning Committee member Susan Wetmore said the group grew this year to include 11 Wakefield people. In addition to Wetmore and DiNocco, they are Paula Berg, David Costa, Carol Hubbard, Amy Leeman Susan Majeski, Diane Mulcahy, Adam Pinkney, Nancy Rollins and Walter Schofield.
“We started meeting as soon as Festival Italia was over in August,” said Wetmore. “It’s the work done between meetings that’s the hard part. But it’s well worth the effort.”