Nashua’s Winter Holiday Stroll will take over Main Street on Nov. 25

Staff file photo Several children and a singer joined Santa Claus in Mark Piekarski's antique fire engine as it led strollers toward Library Hill during the 2010 Winter Holiday Stroll. It was Ed Lecius's 16th year as Santa.

NASHUA – Every year on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Main Street in Nashua transforms into a winter wonderland, decked out with live music and dancing, food and good old-fashioned holiday magic.

This year, the Winter Holiday Stroll officially begins at 5 p.m. Nov. 25 with a candlelit procession up Main Street from City Hall to Railroad Square, where the 72 foot Christmas Tree will be illuminated.

However, the day’s festivities will start long before that, according to Paul Shea, executive director of Great American Downtown and an organizer of the stroll. At 9 a.m. Saturday, Great American Downtown will be handing out free tote bags, full of giveaways, to the first 400 visitors at the Telegraph Building (110 Main St.) to promote “Small Business Saturday.”

For the first time, visits with Santa will be available in an afternoon session 1-4 p.m. as well an evening session 5:45-9:45 p.m., now located at 30 Temple St. There, visitors also will be able to take a Polar Express train ride.

Across from Santander Bank, take the North Pole Safari ride on an animatronic reindeer, polar bear or moose. And in City Hall Plaza, watch the live ice sculpture carving demonstrations.

Main Street’s restaurants will be open, as well as food trucks serving everything from fried dough to barbecue, whoopie pies and seafood.

Over 30,000 people are expected to attend this “awe inspiring” event, Shea said, as they stroll by over 60 performances, food trucks, holiday animations projected on building fronts and a luminaria, or paper bag votive, display on the river walk.

“It really is an incredible sight,” Shea said of the stroll, which, now in its 24th year is Southern New Hampshire’s largest holiday event of the year.

Due to the massive undertaking that is the planning process, the Holiday Stroll will take place rain, snow or shine, and Shea suggested attendees dress in layers.

Main Street will be closed to all parking and traffic at 3 p.m. but Elm Street Parking Garage and High Street Parking Garage will remain open. Shuttle services will be available from Holman Stadium and Rivier University.

“There will be plenty to see and explore,” he said, adding that there will be something for everyone.

“It’s going to be an electric evening.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or