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Greenfield launches downtown holiday season

GREENFIELD — It’s official: December is here, and the town will once again kick off the holiday season with a downtown celebration.

It all starts at 1 p.m., when Santa Claus will pull into the Veterans Mall in a fire truck. He’ll hang around until 3 p.m., so kids can tell him what they’d like to see under their Christmas trees.

Then, the crowd will join in a Christmas carol sing-along until 4 p.m., when the Pioneer Valley Symphony Chorus will take the stage for an hour.

While the chorus carols, the town Christmas tree will be lit at 4:30.

But the tree’s not the only thing being decorated.

All day, 23 downtown businesses will compete with each other, not for sales, but for the annual holiday window display contest. You get to be the judge; ballots will be available at each participating store. Each location will also be stocked with maps, so you can visit all of the participants and make a well-informed decision.

Maps and ballots will also be available at the Veterans Mall, where the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce will be selling hot chocolate and commemorative pewter ornaments.

Smartphone-compatible maps will also be available on the Greenfield Business Association’s Facebook page.

Everyone who votes will be automatically entered to win $50 in Greenfield Dollars, which can be spent at several businesses in town.

Free parking

You won’t need a map to find free parking for the event. Mayor William Martin has waived parking fees at all downtown parking lots. Free parking will continue until Dec. 29. This is only for the lots; you’ll still have to pay for on-street metered parking.

Home for the Holidays is a joint effort of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce and the Greenfield Business Association. Major sponsors include Berkshire Gas Co., Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Greenfield Savings Bank, Peoples United Bank, the Stoneleigh Burnham School, the Richards Group, and the Sandri Companies.

In case of inclement weather, all events will move indoors at the Pushkin Gallery, at the corner of Main and Federal streets.

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