From left, Jackie Smart, Karen Bartlett, Allyson Hart and Allison Perry decorate a Christmas tree in the entrance to City Hall ahead of the City ‘Hall’iday celebration which will kick off on Tuesday, Dec. 3 with a tree lighting on the common at 4 p.m. (Spenser R. Hasak)

Tree lighting, City ‘Hall’iday kick off festive season in Lynn

LYNN — The city's annual tree lighting celebration, set for Tuesday on Lynn Commons, is being super-sized this year, with the addition of a holiday shopping fair at City Hall.

And once Black Friday is over, Small Business Saturday and the new Fair Saturday will provide myriad opportunities to shop locally for unique handmade holiday gifts. 

In addition, The Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Cultural District and the city will team up to host the Festival of Lights celebration in Central Square on Saturday. A tree and menorah lighting takes place at 4 p.m., with the St. Mary's Choir and All-City Marching Band performing at the event. Hot chocolate and coffee will be available, courtesy of the Lynn Salvation Army.

Tuesday's holiday shopping fair, cleverly named City "Hall"iday by Cultural District director Carolyn Cole, will occupy the lobby and three floors of City Hall and feature handmade goods and freshly baked treats by more than 20 local businesses, artisans and cooks. 

The tree lighting on the Commons starts at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be on hand, and the Lynn Public Schools Band and Chorus will lead a sing-a-long of Christmas carols.

Holiday festivities start inside City Hall 4:30-ish. In the lobby, a string quartet will perform holiday favorites and an arts & crafts table will be set up for kids to be creative. The REAL Program, a nonprofit that addresses literacy issue for the city's youth, will also have an information booth in the lobby.

The Lynn Public Schools Band and the St. Mary's Dance Team will perform in the auditorium, and Santa will make his annual visit and pose for photos with children on stage. A screening of "Aladdin," the 2019 film starring Will Smith, will begin at 6 p.m. Popcorn will be free. Vendors will sell soda, water, juices, and snacks.

Tables were provided at no cost to artisans and vendors, who will display their wares on three floors of City Hall. Participants include Adirondacks by Fecteau-Leary (custom-made wood chairs), B Sweets (cupcakes, cookies), Chestnut & Story (handmade cutting boards, leather earrings, Lynn merchandise), Color Street (nail art), Crafty Thoughts (custom decals, mugs, coasters, etc.), Creative Designs of All Kinds (ornaments, decorations), Designing With Dawn Fanning (holiday and personalized wreaths), Elections Dept. & U.S. Census (goodie bags for the movie), Girl Scouts Troop 82184 and Troop 85283 (cookies), Kim's Rockin' Wreaths (deco-mesh wreaths), Land of a Thousand Hills (coffee, handmade products), Lost Art Crochet (hand-made items), Lynn Vocational Technical Institute (handmade wood ornaments, metal birdcages), Lynn Honey (local honey), Neora (skin care, wellness products), Nicole Werth Designs (eco products, fine arts, cards, prints), Northshore Bartending (soda, water, chips, candy), Paint By the Ocean (paintings, ornaments, greeting cards), Pampered Chef (kitchen products), Scouts Troop 226 (bake sale), Seaglass Inspirations (gemstone bead work), Sewing Moose (hand-sewn items, totes, pillows, placemats), and Shop SYN (art, candles, jewelry, clothing).

Robin Ennis, chief of staff for Mayor Thomas M. McGee, and Cole oversaw the planning and management of the fair. 

"I love Carolyn's enthusiasm and ideas," said Ennis. "We started planning this event during the 70th anniversary of City Hall celebration in September. This is a working place and City Hall is the people's building. It's much more than just a place to pay bills."

"Our mayor is a game changer," said Cole. "Now I can throw out a crazy idea like City 'Hall'iday to Robin and the mayor and have it be thoughtfully considered."

Cole grew up in Lynn and has fond memories of the magical traditions and the annual tree lighting, which has always drawn a large number of residents to the official start of the holiday season. "It's important to keep this tradition in the city and to expand on it," she said.

Free parking will be available in the city's Andrew Street lot, in the St. George Greek Orthodox Church lot on South Common Street, and in the Salvation Army lot on Franklin Street. Meters near City Hall will also be free.

Greater Lynn Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Lynn Cultural District have added Fair Saturday to its Small Business Saturday offerings on Nov. 30. Lynn is one of the few cities in Massachusetts that has joined this international movement.

Fair Saturday, held annually on the day after Black Friday, invites artists and cultural organizations to participate, following just one requirement: to support a social cause of their choosing through art

In Lynn, artist Gaby Marshall will paint on site at Land of a Thousand Hills cafe, 61 Monroe St., from 9-11 a.m., in support of The Haven Project; Christie Connolly will create a community mandala at Uncommon Feasts, 271 Western Ave., from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., in support of mental health awareness; Mural artist/chalk artist Mike Grimaldi will be at Nightshade Noodle Bar, 73 Exchange St., from 4-6 p.m., in support of the North Shore Alliance of GLBTQ Youth; and painter Emmanuel Le Gal will be at Durum Pasta, 437 Eastern Ave., from noon-2 p.m., in support of a cause to be determined.




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