Santa Parade and Tree Lighting – Newburyport Rotary Club

By Laura Bentley, Newburyport.Com Correspondent
Owner of Newburyport.Com, Laura manages Business Development, Fundraising, the VIP Program, Blogging and the Events Calendar.
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The 2023 Santa Parade & Tree Lighting, Hosted by the Newburyport Rotary Club is scheduled for Sunday, November 26th, offering all the holiday cheer that’s to be expected of a downtown yuletide celebration – but there’s a twist. In this most nautical of cities, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive by boat. Honoring the Clipper City’s heritage as the birthplace of the U.S. Coast Guard, Santa and Mrs. Claus make their first local appearance waving from a Coast Guard boat on the Merrimack River before docking at the boardwalk for a joyful procession through the downtown area to the traditional tree lighting in Market Square.

Kids and families gather on the Newburyport waterfront to await the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus followed by a short parade that ends in Market Square with caroling and the Christmas tree lighting. To kick off the official ceremony, the Mayor gives Santa the key to the City, which is closely guarded and held at The Brass Lyon. The caroling is jointly led by the Newburyport and Triton High School Bands and Chorus with spirited participation from locals capped with Santa hats as they usher in the holiday season. It is important to know that the start time for this event is approximate as the Merrimack River tides can impact the arrival time of Santa & Mrs. Claus. We always recommend arriving early because once our VIP guests’ board their sleigh, this magical event proceeds quickly. Although the official event time posted on the Newburyport Rotary Club website is from 3 – 5:30 pm., they have provided us with more details. Santa & Mrs. Claus are expected to depart on the Coast Guard boat at 3:30 pm. The boat will go up the River towards Michael’s Harborside so that folks can get a glimpse of our VIP’s on the water. The parade start time is expected to be 3:45 – 4 pm by the time everyone is lined up and ready to go and it will take approximately 15 minutes for them to reach Market Square and another 15 minutes for caroling. The tree should be lit between 4:15 – 4:30.

Traditionally held on the Sunday afternoon immediately after Thanksgiving, the Newburyport Santa Parade & Tree Lighting is the much-anticipated kickoff of the area’s official holiday season.

Over the next few weeks Santa will pop up at a host of public events in the area, including a series of tours by firetruck (in Byfield, Newburyport, and Salisbury), and a wide variety of story times’ and parties at local libraries and recreational farms.

In early December in Newburyport, Santa takes up residence at Santa’s Workshop which is festively decorated by the Newburyport Horticultural Society, offering visits and photos with the kids in December. Check the Events Calendar for the specific days and times.

The Newburyport Santa Parade & Tree Lighting is great example of teamwork and event collaboration for the benefit of the community. This special annual event is Hosted and organized by a large group of local volunteers from the Newburyport Rotary Club with help from the Merrimack River Coast Guard Station, providing transportation for our special VIP’s and the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce who provides the Market Square Christmas tree and our other beautiful downtown Newburyport decorations.

As part of the Chamber’s beautification program, they are in charge of all of the holiday decorations for our city as well as the beautiful hanging flowers you may notice during the Spring and Summer months. When purchasing one of our Newburyport VIP Cards you are able to donate a part of the proceeds directly to the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce, these funds are allocated specifically to the beautification program.

2021 Santa Parade & Tree Lighting

Enjoy this fun video from UAV Look.