Reporter Jackie Majerus wrote this story:
There's plenty of fun in store this weekend as the city kicks off the holiday season with a house tour, book sale, Christmas concerts, the annual reverse children's parade and more.
The parade is for children, their parents, grandparents, older siblings and other guardians. The participants in this event walk the parade route, while the more than 40 attractions, or vendors, are stationary along the route, handing out trinkets, candy and other small goodies.
Set for 1 p.m. sharp on Sunday, the parade starts at the Federal Hill Green. It will be led by the Bristol Fire Department, the Children's Holiday Festival Committee, Rocky the Rock Cat and elected officials.
The parade route travels down Bellevue Avenue and takes a right turn onto High Street. Participants will pass in front of the Bristol Public Library and then turn left onto Main Street and end at Riverside Avenue. If the weather is bad, the parade will be held Sunday, Dec. 9.
But kids don't have to wait for Sunday for the fun to begin.
The Imagine Nation is holding a Grinch festival on Friday from 5-8 p.m. at the Pleasant Street children's museum.
Taking a page from Dr. Seuss' book, the museum is turning itself into Whoville for the night, with crafts, sing-a-longs and readings, as well as character visits. Admission is $4 – or $2 with a new, unwrapped toy for the United Way toy drive – and members get in free.
Breakfast with Santa, now in its 15th year, is Saturday from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Giamatti Little League complex on Mix Street. Tickets are $5 or an unwrapped toy for the Secret Santa Society and children under 12 get in free.
A craft fair is scheduled for Saturday at St. Matthew School most of the day Saturday, running 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Quota International Club of Bristol hosts its annual Holiday House on the Hill Tour. This year marks the 12th annual tour, which features 176 and 177 Brewster Road and 94, 117 and 120 Belridge Road. It also includes admission to the American Clock and Watch Museum, which is located in the Miles Lewis House at 100 Maple St.
Tours of the historic homes are $15 in advance and are available at CV Mason, The Chalkboard and at The Window Shop in Plainville. On Saturday, they'll be available at the clock museum.
On Saturday evening, the Bristol String Orchestra will provide a free Christmas concert at Liberty Baptist Church at 265 Maple Ave. The performance will include small group and solo numbers and sacred as well as secular music.
More music is set for Sunday at 2:30 p.m. – just after the children's parade – when the Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble perform their holiday concert at Prospect United Methodist Church on Summer Street.
Children who miss out on seeing Santa this weekend need not despair. Jolly Old St. Nick will be holding court in Mrs. Rockwell's Playground Pavilion in Rockwell Park from Thursday, Dec. 18 through Sunday, Dec. 21.
The annual Christmas display at the park, put on by the Bristol Parks and Recreation Dept., includes special attractions depending on the day. It is open from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 18 and 19 and from noon to 4 p.m. on Dec. 20 and 21.
On opening night, the Memorial Boulevard All Star Chorus will perform at 6:30 p.m. There will be stories by the fireplace Dc. 19-21.
There's a petting zoo on Dec. 20 and 21, and horse drawn wagon rides, too. The rides cost 50 cents, and are sponsored by the Greater Bristol Chamber of Commerce.
Visitors every day can see the "Winter Wonderland" done by the Art Honor Society at Bristol Central High School and make crafts in Santa's workshop.
A visit with Santa is free, but a photo costs $3. Parents are allowed to bring their own cameras, too.
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