Family Room

Downtown Rutland begins celebrating the holidays Saturday.

It still seemed a little early on a snowy Tuesday afternoon a couple weeks ago to see a giant wood cutout of a red sleigh parked just off of West Street, and lights beginning to be strung up in Main Street Park. But I’ll admit it, if there had been trees for sale that day, I would have bought one and put it up even though Thanksgiving was still two weeks away. But now that the Christmas season is officially here, there’s a lot going on this weekend to kick it off.

It starts with a screening of the family movie “Polar Express” at the Paramount Theatre, 30 Center St., at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24. Admission is free, no ticket required.

From there you could spend the entire rest of the day downtown going from one shop to the next for the Downtown Rutland Holiday Stroll with Santa’s arrival and tree lighting. It’s also Small Business Saturday and everyone is celebrating with deals.

The hot chocolate special at Speakeasy Café runs 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and The Bakery is offering free coffee 9 to 10 a.m. The Bookmobile has 10 percent off new books 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Frogs and Lily Pads is offering 20 percent off of one game 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. And Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum has holiday art activities 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There’s an art exhibit open noon to 5 p.m. at Castleton University Bank Gallery, featuring “Ewing the Stark Fisher.” Or head to Phoenix Books at 1 p.m. for a half-hour story time.

From 2:30 to 5 p.m., head to the Rutland Free Library to make your own paper snowman, and Santa will be there to take a picture in the Fox Room.

Santa visits to help light the tree in Depot Park, 5:30 to 8 p.m., with Nikki Adams performing music live this year.

Saturday is also Kids and Family Fun Day at Giorgetti Ice Skating Rink, 1 to 3 p.m. and it’s free. Skates, hot dogs, cookies, an elf egg hunt and the fire and police departments manning a s’mores station outside are all included. A canned vegetable donation is requested for the Café Food Pantry.

And, if you’re up for heading a little outside Rutland city limits, a puppet show is being presented by the No Strings Marionette Company at 11 a.m. Saturday at Chandler Center for the Arts, 71-73 Main St. in Randolph. “Handsome & Gretel” is a fun version of the fairy tale classic about a poor woodcutter and his family who live on the edge of a deep forest. Santa will also make an appearance. Tickets are $8. Call 802-728-6464 or visit www.chandler-arts.org for more information.

For more information on the Holiday Stroll, tree lighting and Small Business Saturday participating shops, go online to downtownrutland.com.

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