One of the neighborhood’s most anticipated annual events, the “Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll” returns Thursday, Dec. 6.
“The Beacon Hill Business Association is excited to present the Beacon Hill Holiday Stroll again for the 16th year, with many returning crowd-pleasers, including the Back Bay Ringers, the Brass Quartet, the Apollo Club, Kings Chapel carolers and everyone’s favorite – the complimentary horse-drawn carriage rides by Bridal Carriage Co., Inc.,” said Lucy Grogan, who serves as co-president of the organization alongside Ali Ringenburg.
Both sides on the five blocks of Charles Street between Cambridge and Beacon streets will be closed to vehicles from 6 to 9 p.m., clearing the way for holiday shoppers to visit neighborhood restaurants, shops and businesses while enjoying free snacks and refreshments. Santa Claus will in attendance for the 7 p.m. tree-lighting at Mt. Vernon and Charles streets, at which time the winners of the annual Charles Street Storefront Decorating Competition will be announced and presented with certificates.
“The Joint Charles Street Committee is looking forward to conducting the contest and award first, second and third places to deserving business who have creatively enhance and beautify Charles Street during the 2018 holiday season,” said Miguel Rosales, who chairs the jury for the contest each year.
Santa will also be on hand to pose with children for complimentary photos, again courtesy of Susan Symonds, owner of Infinity Portrait Design, before the tree-lighting from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Firehouse (Hill House), 127 Mt. Vernon St. Symonds uses instant Polaroid film for the sessions, allowing children to walk away with a keepsake from the event.
“For me, I feel like kids and Santa are Christmas magic,” said Symonds, adding that between 150 and 200 children and their families typically turn out for the photos shoots. “It also really allows us an opportunity to give back to the neighborhood for all the support they’ve given us over the years…and this is a super fun way to do that.”
The Back Bay Ringers will return to the Stroll, bringing two quartets of hand-bell performers for the first time this year.
“We’re bringing two groups because they’ve met with such a positive response in years past,” said Dona Matson, the group’s executive director. “Each quartet will play Christmas carols as they move down street and end up meeting at the tree in time for the lighting.”
The Apollo Club of Boston, which dates back to 1871 and is the second-oldest continuously active men’s singing group in the U.S., will also be making a return visit to the Stroll.
“We will usually be able to field 10-12 singers, assembling at the CVS on Charles Circle and then working our way through the crowds and in and out of businesses along Charles Street to watch the lighting of the tree and join in the festivities,” wrote Larry Sloss, Apollo president.
Meanwhile, Bridal Carriage Co., Inc., will again transport guests back to the days of yore with its complimentary horse-and-buggy rides, just as it has every year since 2002.
“The greatest part of this event that we enjoy each year is…giving families a taste of what it was like in the old days of horse transportation,” wrote Sally Cotton, owner of the Hanover-based company. “We represent a time that has been forgotten by many people – a time when our only means of transportation to travel to far away places, with our families, was by a horse-drawn carriage… a more tender time of Boston’s history, a time where people would spend more time preparing for the holidays.”