Charlottetown streets will be alive with Christmas events — and traffic — this weekend

During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Charlottetown's traditional Christmas parade was replaced by the Santa Claus Comes to Town convoy, which made its way through various Charlottetown neighbourhoods over the course of several evenings.  (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)
During the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, Charlottetown's traditional Christmas parade was replaced by the Santa Claus Comes to Town convoy, which made its way through various Charlottetown neighbourhoods over the course of several evenings. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC - image credit)

If the thought of Christmas fills you with warmth and goodwill and dreams of sugarplum fairies, Charlottetown groups are offering a menu of choice events this weekend.

If it doesn't, you might want to avoid some of the high-traffic areas associated with them and curl up with a good non-seasonal book.

Below is a partial rundown of what's going on. Whatever you choose to take in, be aware of the forecast, which involves rain starting Friday evening and gusts of up to 80 km/h out of the north around midday Saturday.

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Many people consider the lighting of the Christmas tree outside the Confederation Centre of the Arts to be the kickoff of the season.

That happens at 6:30 p.m. Friday night, Nov. 25, exactly one month before Christmas Day.

A candlelight promenade will leave Founders Hall at 6:15 p.m. and make its way up to the tree on the Grafton Street side of the arts complex.

The City of Charlottetown event also features live performances, refreshments and pyrotechnics.

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The Victorian Christmas Market is on offer this weekend as well, from Friday through Sunday.

This open-air market presented by the Confederation Court Mall will shut off Queen Street to car traffic to let artisans, food vendors, and crafters set up booths.

"Don't miss Whoville-inspired decor, carollers, horse and wagon rides, live music, hot cocoa, fire pits, live ice sculpting, and plenty of chances to shop for local goods this Christmas," the event's website urges.

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Speaking of shopping, many Christmas magi head to the Colonel Grey Christmas Craft Fair, which takes place Friday evening and Saturday this year at the high school, located at 175 Spring Park Road. For an admission of $3, you can check out 130 tables of goodies, with live music also presented. .

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Other people may want to browse for gifts at the Indigenous Artisans Christmas Market scheduled for Saturday at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

More than 30 artisans are expected to be on the site from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with ribbonwork, pottery, dreamcatchers, quillwork and other specialties featured.

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The Deck the Hall series will be held at Founders Hall through Dec. 24, with culinary experiences, music and artisan pop-up markets.

This weekend features a holiday chowder session and a cupcake decorating demo, as well as a shop and sip happy hour and human and pet Santa visits.

Musicians include Shane Pendergast, Dave Woodside and Mat Hannah.

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As darkness falls late Saturday afternoon, the Charlottetown Christmas Parade will light up the night starting at 5 p.m. This will be the first year for the traditional parade format since 2019, so everyone involved in the City of Charlottetown event is sure to be pumped.

"We made do with the circumstances we were given the last few years and were able to pull off some good events in place of our traditional events," said Charlotte Nicholson, a tourism and events co-ordinator with the city.

"But I think everyone, including us, is very excited to have those traditions back, maybe see some different twists on them."

The parade sets out from the UPEI campus and proceeds down University Avenue all the way to Great George Street, hanging a right onto Grafton Street for a downtown leg before ending at the provincial parking lot near Victoria Park. (A map appears at the end of this story.)

Barricades will go up along the parade route at about 4 p.m., and volunteers from the Upper Room Hospitality Ministry will be collecting donations of non-perishable food items beginning at 4:30 p.m.

And spoiler alert: Your children will want to stay awake long enough to see who arrives at the tail-end of the parade...

City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown