This time of year is filled with community traditions and holiday events in Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea and Rockport. With a wide array of wonderful celebrations, visiting Cape Ann is a must this Holiday Season.
Starting with Small Business Saturday on November 26, be sure to shop local and support your favorite businesses in all four communities with holiday shopping. Many of the businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday and will have exciting promotions available.
All of Cape Ann will be bustling during the month of December. Each of our four communities have many events that local residents and visitors are invited to enjoy.
Essex – The holiday festivities begin in Essex on Thursday, December 1 with the Lighting of the Memory Tree, in Honor of Lost Loved Ones, at Town Hall at 6:30 PM. The following day, Friday, December 2, Santa arrives at Town Landing by boat at 6:00 PM. Children and families are invited to join for carols, refreshments and the chance to sit on Santa’s Lap. On Saturday, December 3, Breakfast with Santa will be held at Essex Elementary School from 8:00 AM – 11:00 AM. The cost is $5 per person or $25 for the family.
Gloucester – On Sunday, November 27, the Gloucester Christmas Parade begins at the State Fish Pier at 3:00 PM and marches through the streets of Gloucester, ending at Kent Circle for the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4:00 PM. Thursday, December 1st will mark the 43rd Annual Ladies’ Night. Enjoy shopping and refreshments in the downtown shops as well as exciting deals and discounts from 5:00-10:00 PM. Thursday, December 8th will be another opportunity to shop downtown during the Family & Friends Night from 5:00 -10:00 PM. Don’t miss the Middle Street Walk on Saturday, December 10. From 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM historic house tours, concerts and special programs will be featured on Middle Street. Also on the 10th, make sure to stop by the front of the Police Station at 4:30 PM for a truly unique Gloucester tradition, the lighting of the Lobster Trap Tree, decorated by the children of Cape Ann Art Haven. As we get closer to Christmas, Men’s Night will be held on Thursday, December 15th from 5:00 – 10:00 PM.
Manchester-by-the-Sea – The events of Christmas by the Sea are also not to be missed. Visit the downtown merchants for Shop Manchester Night on Friday, December 2 from 4:00 – 8:00 PM. On Shop Manchester Night, get your passbook stamped at all participating shops. Turn it in to 7 Central by 8:00 PM to enter a drawing where the winner will receive a Fitbit Blaze! Spend the day in Manchester on Saturday, December 3, starting with a PJ Pancake Breakfast from 8:00-10:00 AM at 7 Central Restaurant. In the afternoon, Santa will arrive by boat at 1:00 PM. Walk with Santa to the Manchester Community Center and enjoy festivities until 3:00 PM. On Sunday, December 4, join us for a Christmas Concert at 3:30 PM at First Parish Church. The Lighting of the Friendship Tree will be held at the Town Hall Common at 4:30 PM.
Rockport – Shop Rockport – Black Friday and Small Business Saturday kick off the Christmas in Rockport holiday festivities on November 25 and 26. The weekend is dedicated to supporting local small businesses and will include exciting offers from the downtown shops. Also starting on November 25 is the Rockport Holiday Selfie Contest. Upload a selfie at any Rockport business to Instagram, tag @rockportusa, tag the business and use #rockportselfiestroll to enter to win weekly prizes and one grand prize through December 22. Friday, December 2 is Shop Rockport Night. Shops will be open from 4:00-9:00 PM for the occasion and will offer special deals and refreshments for shoppers. On the following day, Saturday, December 3, Santa will arrive at T-Wharf by boat at 1:00 PM and will make his way to Dock Square for a Christmas celebration and to visit with children. Festivities will continue in the square with Christmas Carols and the Tree Lighting Ceremony at 4:00 PM, also at Dock Square. Christmas Shopping and Gallery Stroll Weekend is on December 10 and 11. The shops and galleries of Rockport will be open, each offering different promotions. New this year is the Twilight Holiday Inn & Cookie Tour on December 10th. Stroll through 6 of Rockport’s finest Inns all decked out for the season. As you visit the inns from 3-6 PM you will enjoy refreshments and collect an assortment of holiday cookies baked by the innkeepers. Tickets for the tour are $25. A unique event that engages the entire community, the 71st Annual Christmas Pageant, starts at 5:00 PM on Saturday, December 17. The holiday celebrations are capped off with Rockport New Year’s Eve with live music and entertainment from 6:00 PM to midnight, to ring in the New Year.
To learn more about the events listed above contact the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce at
(978) 283-1601. Event information can also be found by visiting the following pages.