The Christmas season officially arrived in downtown Wheaton Friday night with the city's Lighted Holiday Parade featuring storybook and cartoon characters, city officials and, yes, an appearance by Santa Claus.
The parade helped launch the city's annual Dickens of a Christmas celebration that will continue with activities through much of December.
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Carriage rides and visits with Santa, for example, will be offered beginning Saturday at Martin Memorial Plaza. Santa will be on hand from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Saturday at the plaza leading up to Christmas and free carriage rides will be offered from noon to 3 p.m. on those days.
The annual A Dickens of a Christmas Stroll is scheduled from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, with every shop in the city's downtown offering complimentary holiday treats throughout the day from roasted chestnuts to holiday cookies, eggnog, cider and souvenir bells. Carolers and ice sculptors also will be on hand.
For residents who are afraid to peek in their sweater drawers at this time of year, there will be a Bad Christmas Sweater Contest at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14, at Muldoon's Eatery, 133 W. Front St. Participants are invited to find their ugliest holiday sweater and compete for laughs and prizes.
For more on seasonal events in downtown Wheaton, visit downtownwheaton.com.