2013-11-28 / Front Page

43rd Annual Christmas in Newport

A giant gingerbread house, a “North Pole Express” train ride, and a living nativity scene are among the more than 150 musical, artistic, culinary and narrative events that fill the month of December in the City by the Sea as part of the annual Christmas in Newport celebration.

Hailed as one of the top holiday events in the country, Christmas in Newport is a community-based effort, bringing diverse groups together – the military, church groups, and dance troupes – of all ages and ethnic backgrounds. Founded in 1971, Christmas in Newport began as a two-week festival that celebrated the non-commercial traditions of the holiday season. Now in its 43rd year, the annual calendar and website lists multiple activities for nearly every day in December.

In a community collaboration among residents, businesses, and the city, only clear bulbs illuminate the scenic harbor and wharves, the restored colonials of the Point and Historic Hill sections, and the Victorian splendor of Bellevue Avenue. According to Kathy MacKnight, president of the nonprofit organization, “The lights are meant to simulate candlelight, and are the brainchild of Christmas in Newport founder Ruth Myers, who wished to recapture the candlelit holidays of her youth.”

With a volunteer base of more than 1,500, Christmas in Newport raises thousands of dollars for charity each year. In keeping with the true spirit of the season, any event listed in the annual program must be free or must benefit a nonprofit institution or charity.

The month-long celebration starts on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 5 p.m. in Washington Square with an official proclamation from Mayor Harry Winthrop, the tree lighting, choral works by the Newport schools, a cannon salute by the Newport Artillery Company and, weather permitting, a bonfire. The calendar, which this year features 13 new events, is available at many locations throughout Newport, including the Gateway Information Center at 23 America’s Cup Ave., the Christmas in Newport website, christmasinnewport.org. Up-tothe minute information and event coverage will be provided by WADK 1540 radio.

To request more information, call the Christmas in Newport voicemail line at 401-849-6454, or visit christmasinnewport.org.

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