A spicy-sweet gingerbread theme has emerged around East Hampton Village, with candy-decked houses and icing “snow” bringing to life sugarplum scenes for raffle and for charity.
Newly renamed, with a new acting director named to serve alongside its president — and in the midst of a revitalization — the Greater East Hampton Chamber of Commerce has commissioned three very fancy gingerbread houses custom-designed to represent the Beecher House (Village Hall), the old saltbox at Mulford Farm, and “Candy Land.” The houses can be seen at the Monogram Shop on Newtown Lane and White’s Apothecary and the Palm at the Huntting Inn on Main Street from now until Saturday, when they will be raffled off at 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Market on the lawn at Village Hall, to benefit the East Hampton Food Pantry.
The market, which will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., is a new addition this year to the annual Santa Parade day festivities, now officially dubbed the East Hampton Holiday Celebration. East Hampton Middle School’s Bonnettes will sing holiday songs at 3:45. The market will also feature tins of cookies baked by East Hampton Kitchen, as well as wreaths and other greenery, decorations, and treats. Tickets for the gingerbread-house raffle are $5 apiece and available where the cookie creations are being displayed.
According to Mary Waserstein, acting director of the newly reformed chamber of commerce, the chamber team plans to expand its gingerbread vision next winter, for 2024, with gingerbread houses decorating many more shop windows.
This year, restaurants in the village have been invited to add extra enticements to Saturday’s village-wide celebration, she said, with Tutto Caffe offering a hot cocoa and cookie package and happy-hour prices all day on wine and spirits; the Golden Pear offering a discount of 15 percent, and Hampton Eats, John Papas Cafe, the Palm, and Cittanuova offering other specials in honor of the big kickoff to the season.
St. Nicholas himself will be arriving by helicopter at Herrick Park at 10 a.m., courtesy of the Police Benevolent Association, to greet young fans, who will be warmed by free hot chocolate and sweet treats from the Dreesen’s Famous Donuts truck. At 11 a.m., the Santa Parade will set out from the Presbyterian Church on Main Street and proceed from there to Newtown Lane.
After the parade, Father Christmas (a.k.a., Sinterklaas, the Jolly Old Elf, Pere Noel, etc.) will again meet and greet children at the Holiday Market. Mrs. Claus, meanwhile, will be keeping warm inside at the Ladies Village Improvement Society shops in the Gardiner “Brown” House at 95 Main Street from 2 to 4 p.m., offering a treat to each young person who comes in to say “hello.”
The East Hampton Cinema will open its doors for free screenings of “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and “Fred Klaus” at 1 p.m., and a temporary skating rink will appear on the lawn at the Huntting Inn, with free skating and skate rentals from noon till 6, provided by Landry’s Inc., the Texas hospitality giant that owns the Palm.
The day will be capped off by a lighting of the tree at Pantigo Road near Egypt Lane and Gay Lane at 5 p.m., with the Emmy and Tony Award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris flipping the switch.
In case of rain, the festivities will happen on Dec. 9.