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West Hartford’s Annual Holiday Stroll: What You Need To Know

Santa high-fives some of his fans. West Hartford Holiday Stroll, Dec. 3, 2015. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square Holiday Stroll is Thursday, Dec. 1, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., followed by a new ‘After Stroll’ that goes until 8:30 p.m.

Santa high-fives some of his fans. West Hartford Holiday Stroll, Dec. 3, 2015. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

Santa high-fives some of his fans during the 2015 West Hartford Holiday Stroll. Photo credit: Ronni Newton (we-ha.com file photo)

By Joy Taylor

The holiday season is upon us and the Annual Holiday Stroll in West Hartford Center and Blue Back Square will bring that festive magic to the area with lights, tasty treats, horse drawn carriage rides, visits with Santa, tree festival, carolers, music, ugly sweater contest, live animals, and a bonfire. And that’s not all!

I read this online recently, and this feels like a perfect time to say Happy Holidays to all … “Why do I wish people ‘Happy Holidays’? Because from November 1 to January 15 there are approximately 29 holidays observed by 7 of the world’s major religions, and I don’t think mine are the only ones that count.” 

Below is a look at what is planned for the evening. Free parking will be available at the Town Hall lot and you can stroll with ease on Isham Road, which will be closed to cars. It’s nearly impossible to list everything, so please come and see for yourself why this tradition has carried on for so many years.

All evening enjoy horse drawn carriage rides, by Foxglove Farms, around The Center and Blue Back Square, made possible by Keating Insurance, AFC Urgent Care, Vineyard Vines We-Ha Apparel, BK & Co, West Hartford Chamber of Commerce and West Hartford Magazine.

New this year, the “After Stroll” events will begin at 7:30 at the Showmobile.

5:15 p.m.: Santa will arrive in Blue Black Square to light the tree
5:15 p.m.: Santa & Mrs. Claus will arrive at the Showmobile (parked at corner of LaSalle Road and Farmington Ave. in the Center) by fire truck with an Elf, and you can visit with them at the Toy Chest until about 7:30 p.m.. They will have cookies and baked goods.

Showmobile & Stage Entertainment: The Showmobile will be located in The Center (corner of LaSalle Road and Farmington Avenue), and the Stage is in Blue Back Square (next to Barnes & Noble)

5:20 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: Pinkalicious performance
5:30 p.m. STAGE: Conard High School BeS#arp
5:45 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: Hartt School of Dance – The Nutcracker
6 p.m. STAGE: Hartford City Ballet
6 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: The Sound of New England Chorus
6:30 p.m. STAGE: West Hartford Womenʼs Chorale
6:30 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: Hartford Men in Harmony
6:45 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: Be S#arp a cappella group from Conard High School
7 p.m. STAGE: Hartt Saxophone Ensemble
7 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: Connecticut Family Theater – 5th-12th grade performers singing Holiday Songs
7:15 p.m.SHOWMOBILE: Holiday Ugly Sweater Flash Mob & Contest

7:30 p.m. AFTER STROLL begins at the SHOWMOBILE with fashion show by BK&Co, Daswani, Exclusive Furs, and Vineyard Vines We-Ha apparel
8 p.m. SHOWMOBILE: After Stroll Holiday Karaoke with fun prizes. Be sure to ask for the “After Stroll” holiday drink specials at participating restaurants, including Elbow Room and Grants which will feature their version of a “Pink Whale” cocktail in honor of the new Vineyard Vines We-Ha collection. Others will be added to this list (follow @westhartfordite on Instagram for updates).

Stroll Activities around Blue Back and The Center:

The JCC Klezshpil will be performing in the lobby of The Rutherford Building at Blue Back Square throughout the evening.

Listen to the sweet sounds of Connecticut Yuletide Carolers as they stroll throughout the Center.

Hartford Stage members will have candy, Hartford Stage-branded freebies, giveaway to enter to win 2 tickets to see A Christmas Carol (valid dates Dec. 3, 2016 through Dec. 9, 2016 and Dec. 26, 2016 through Dec. 30, 2016).

Strolling entertainment: Wolf Pack mascot and Yard Goats mascot
Tables set up by Congregation Beth Israel and WHC-TV show Moms Time Out

Vineyard Vines We-Ha POP UP store.

West Hartford Center Retailers & Restaurants:

Armeny Custom Jewelry Design – Hors d’oeuvres, eggnog and cookies
Avert – Chef Omar will be offering crepes and an Ugly Sweater cocktail special
BK & Co – Rob the balloon guy, Giant chair – feel like a kid again, holiday tasting with Hartford Flavor Company
Beckers Diamonds & Fine Jewelry – Holiday Treats
Bella Gusta Select Oils & Vinegars – receive a free 60ml Holiday inspired balsamic vinegar with a $13 purchase. Free tastings of oils and vinegars and free candy canes
Charles Schwab – Cookies, hot chocolate and a balloon twister.
Coldwell Banker – Famous cookie giveaway
Cookshop Plus – Holiday storewide specials and they will be hosting the Conard Jazz Combo
DeRobertis Jewelers – Sparkling Cider
First Church West Hartford – 57 Trees on display at West Hartford Festival of Trees. Raffle.
Fleet Feet Sports – Ugly sweater jingle jog starts at 6 p.m. at Fleet Feet
Friends of the West Hartford Library – Used book sale
Grants Restaurant – Hot chocolate and Ugly Sweater cocktail special
Hope & Stetson – Candy Cane pick your sale: from $10 to $75 off your purchase
Iris Photography – Holiday photo booth
J. McLaughlin – Hot chocolate and candy canes, free holiday gift wrap with purchase
Kaoud Oriental Rugs – Live animals from The Children’s Museum
Kimberly Boutique – Popcorn machine outside
Lux Bond & Green – Donut holes and cider
Max Oyster Bar – Lobster Bisque while supplies last, Ugly Sweater cocktail special $5.
The Miale Team at Keller Williams – Cookies, candy canes balloons and hot cocoa
Omaha Steaks – Sampling holiday dessert favorites and drinks
Penzys Spices – Each family will receive a 1/2 cup jar of dutch process cocoa powder, while supplies last
Philip David Jewelers – Cookies and Smile 20 percent off gloves and scarfs
Silver Dahlia – Just in time for your holiday gifts: NEW Vineyard Vines We-Ha apparel!
Ten Thousand Villages – Sampling organic fair trade hot chocolate, free gift with $75 purchase
Toast Wines – Wine tasting from 5-7:30 p.m.
Treva – Chef Dorjan will be roasting chestnuts in front of Treva, Ugly Sweater cocktail special
Upper Ave – Marshmallow toasting

Blue Back Square Retailers & Restaurants:

Barnes & Noble – Polar Express Storytime at 7 p.m. and cookies with hot chocolate.
Bar Louie – Complimentary appetizer samples
Besito Mexican – Churros and Mexican hot chocolate.
BLO Blow Dry Bar – Braid bar and treats.
Blue Back Dental (table) – complimentary hot chocolate, a coloring book, crayons and stickers – while supplies last.
Charming Charlie – $10 off purchase of $50 or more*
Crate & Barrel – Enjoy food sampling & Nespresso Coffee samples or hot apple cider. Enter to win a chance at a $50 Crate & Barrel Gift Card in-store.
Go! Calendars & Games – 20 percent off one regularly priced item*
The Green Teahouse – 10 percent off your purchase of all loose tea and enjoy samples of Caramel Mint tea with bubble.
Muse Paintbar – Free hot chocolate and $10 vouchers.
NoRA Cupcake – 15 percent off your purchase and enter to win a $25 Gift Certificate.
Ooh La La Boutique – Save 20 percent off one item and each child receives a free gift*
REI – Free snowshoeing class in-store from 7-8:30 p.m.
Rizzuto’s Restaurant – Complimentary appetizer samples
SPIN Monograms & Gifts – Festive treats
Vinted Winebar & Kitchen – Enjoy 20 percent off of any food and complimentary fresh, hot local apple cider
West Elm – Enter to win a senior design service package (valued at $499) in-store
Woof Gang Bakery & Grooming – 15 percent off your purchase and dogs receive a free treat
Offers subject to change without notice. While supplies last. *exclusions apply; see store for details.

This event would not be possible without the support of countless individuals as well as the following organizations: West Hartford Chamber of Commerce, Town of West Hartford, We-Ha.com, West Hartford Magazine, BK&Co., Eat In Connecticut, West Hartford Community Television, T&T DJ and Sound, Hart Real Estate, NBC Connecticut, Maximum Beverage, TurleyCT, Connecticut Jewish Ledger, A Little Bird Told Me, Country 92.5, 102.9 The Whale, and 96.5 TIC FM.

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  • Unfortunately, Go! Calendars & Games was not honoring this advertised promotion at all. Two men who worked there said they knew nothing about it, and that maybe it was for the mall store. I put the $50.00 game back on the shelf.

    • So sorry that happened! I have brought it to the attention of Blue Back Square management and will let you know if there are any updates. ~Ronni

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