GREENFIELD — Downtown Greenfield is gearing up to have a very merry Christmas.
Greenfield Main Street, an organization dedicated to fostering enthusiasm and prosperity in the downtown area, is hosting a variety of holiday related events in December to draw families downtown, and the celebration kicks off Saturday. The lineup, called Very Merry Christmas, is a first for the organization.
From carriage rides to Christmas movies at the H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, said Shelley Swift, Greenfield Main Street program manager.
Carriage rides will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday and from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 12. Each ride lasts about 15 minutes and costs $10 per person. The carriages each can hold six adults, but groups wanting a more private experience can pay $50 to rent the entire carriage for a ride.
“A Christmas Story” will be shown at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at the Ricks. Tickets are $4 per person.
Movies continue though the month with “Elf” on Dec. 12 and “White Christmas.” Showtimes and ticket prices are the same for each film.
Swift said the events are meant to enhance Greenfield’s traditional Christmas activities, such as the Festival of Lights, which takes place all day Saturday. Multiple organizations are working together to plan the gatherings, making each a family-friendly holiday event, she said.
In addition, the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home and Museum will be open Saturday and Dec. 12 for tours. Cocoa, cider and cookies will sold in the Elizabeth Ann Kitchen as a fundraiser to benefit the Kenneth Butler Memorial Soup Kitchen.
Swift said she hopes families will attend the events and enjoy the downtown atmosphere.
“We think downtown Greenfield is beautiful at the holidays,” she said. “Our hope is all these events will become time-honored traditions for families in Greenfield and beyond.”
Greenfield Parks and Recreation is decorating the gardens behind the Riley home to make it a holiday wonderland, organizers said. Since the carriage rides start and end behind the home on North Street, organizers hope residents will stroll through the gardens to enjoy the holiday magic.
Parks superintendent Ellen Kuker said she believes most community members aren’t aware of the gardens and how beautiful they can be, especially in the winter months. The parks department is always eager to draw people to the Riley home, she said.
“It’s just a really beautiful setting,” Kuker said. “We always look for ways to partner and share resources. The Riley home was certainly a resource we’re willing to share.”
In addition to the Very Merry Christmas events, Main Street is also hosting its holiday passport program for the second year. The program encourages shoppers to visit 20 participating downtown merchants, getting a stamp for every $10 they spend. After spending $100, participants are entered in a raffle for a chance to win gift certificates. The program runs through Dec. 20.
Donna Steele, an event organizer, said Main Street worked to make the events affordable to ensure everyone will be able to get involved. It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy Christmas downtown, she said, and she hopes it’s an event special enough for everyone to remember.
“There’s a real effort to make it a wonderful, old-fashioned Christmas,” she said.
Main Street’s Very Merry Christmas begins Saturday with a showing of “A Christmas Story” at H.J. Ricks Centre for the Arts in downtown Greenfield.
Here’s a lineup of the events:
2 p.m. — “A Christmas Story” at the Ricks
7-10 p.m. — Carriage rides through downtown Greenfield beginning on North Street
7:30 p.m. — “A Christmas Story” at the Ricks
2 p.m. — “Elf” at the Ricks; Christmas sing-along
6-9 p.m. — Carriage rides through downtown Greenfield beginning on North Street
7:30 p.m. — “Elf” at the Ricks
2 p.m. — “White Christmas” at the Ricks
7:30 p.m. — “White Christmas” at the Ricks