Yes, Saratoga, it is the most wonderful time of the year again. How do we know? The Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association will once again be hosting its über-popular Victorian Streetwalk from 6pm to 9pm on Thursday, December 5. The fun-filled stroll, which puts Downtown Saratoga in all of its tricked-out holiday goodness on display, begins at the Route 50 arterial and ends at the Broadway/Springs Street intersection (commuters take note: Broadway will be closed to traffic at 5pm that day).
Just what’s in store for this year’s streetwalk? At 5:45pm, The Racing City Chorus will kick things off outside of Putnam Market, serenading strollers as they await Santa and Mrs. Claus’ arrival by horse and carriage, at the site of the holiday trees and Santa’s Broadway “mansion.” Fifteen minutes later, Saratoga Mayor Meg Kelly will press the magic button, lighting the trees, which will put into motion the annual Santa Parade, featuring the Avant Garde Alumni DrumLine and Color Guard, performing all the way from the Saratoga Springs City Center down Broadway; and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at their temporary home (they’ll be taking “reservations” from list-clutching local children throughout the night, and will be open for business for the remainder of the month).
As much as we love a jolly, potbellied guy, wearing red, white and black duds, predicting what’s going to be under our trees this year, the Victorian Streetwalk is more than just all Santa, all the time. Look out for more than 40 performances from local ensembles at some 45 local venues, including the Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake Select High School Choir, Shenendehowa MS Select Choir and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Choir, all stationed throughout the city at designated spots. Also included on the night’s packed lineup: The Salvation Army Brass Band, which will be out in all its glory; the violin-cello one-two punch of the Spa City Duo; a cappella and brass groups from Skidmore College; the saxophone-blowing, Santa-costume-wearing Sax O Claus; and countless others. And there are some newcomers, per Fran Dingeman, festival coordinator for the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association: “We have a 15-year-old new talent named Justin Charles, who will be performing in the Downtowner Lot; a hula hoop artist, Acadia Rae, who will be performing outside Spoken Boutique; a toy soldier; and other special touches throughout downtown Saratoga.” (A map of where each artist will be performing will be posted here on Friday, November 22.) Additionally, look out for face-painting stations, balloon artists and a “warming station” (it’s likely going to be cold that evening). And be sure to look out for George Bailey and friends, as cast members from Home Made Theater’s production of It’s A Wonderful Life will be out and about in character.
And, hey, look, if you’re 21 or older and you have a little extra something somewhere to keep warm, the CDTA will act as your intra-Saratoga designated driver, running free shuttle buses every 20 minutes from the Empire State College parking lot at 111 West Avenue; NYRA’s Oklahoma track just off Exit 14 of I-87; Saratoga Race Course’s Gate 21 on the corner of East Ave and Union Ave; the National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame on South Broadway; and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center parking lot on Rt. 50. (Shuttles will run to and from Downtown Saratoga from 4:30pm to 9pm; obviously, if you don’t live within safe walking distance of these locations, take an Uber or Lyft the rest of the way home.)
Last but not least, as much as your fur babies deserve Santa’s attention, unfortunately, they’re not allowed to join in on the merriment of the Victorian Streetwalk, due to a large-event ordinance by the City of Saratoga. So unless you want a ticket, leave Spot home. And it’ll be a good idea to leave him home anyway, because Downtown Saratoga will be bumping long after the last walk is walked at the Streetwalk.
—additional reporting by Will Levith