Holiday Stroll Marks New Era for Downtown New Bedford

Santa and Mrs. Claus will greet their young admirers. Musicians will perform. The aroma of holiday treats will fill the air. The city’s giant tree will sparkle on the library steps. All this and more is planned for visitors to New Bedford to experience on December 6th from noon to 9:00pm at the Downtown Holiday Stroll. For downtown business people there’s something that makes this year’s holiday event even more special. In a very real sense it marks a new era – Downtown New Bedford has been reborn.
The idea for the Holiday Stroll originated at a forum sponsored by Downtown New Bedford Inc. (DNB) last August when over 35 downtown stakeholders met and exchanged ideas. Previously a holiday event organized by WHALE and later by the City featured out-of-town vendors. The consensus of the forum was to center this year’s activities around local business in and around the Historic District. The more extensive holiday event would be an effective way of spreading the word about the new downtown. As the name implies, Holiday Stroll will do just that: invite visitors into the existing shops, galleries, and restaurants in the 24 square block downtown area.
DNB, Inc. is taking the organizational lead with retailers, restaurants, non-profits, residents and city officials enthusiastically participating with planning the Stroll. The entire downtown area is humming with a new vitality that the Stroll will celebrate.
Musicians will entertain on the streets and at various indoor locations. Trolleys will provide free transportation in a loop around the entire Stroll area. Free parking will be available at the Elm Street and Zeiterion garages, and on Custom House Square.
Santa and Mrs. Claus are expected to arrive at Custom House Square by fire truck at noon and set up shop on Centre Street to welcome their admirers. For children there will be rides on the fire truck and holiday activities at the New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park Visitor Center, ArtWorks and the Bristol Building on Purchase Street.
At 4:30 Santa and his young followers will parade up William Street accompanied by the New Bedford High School Band to witness the lighting of the giant tree on the steps of the Public Library. Shops and galleries will remain open until 9:00pm.
For more information about holiday activities, visit the Calendar of Events on the City website at

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