NEW BEDFORD - The following community events will take place in the city of New Bedford during the month of December in celebration of the holiday season:

Cove Street Neighborhood Group Tree Lighting 

Date and Time: Friday, December 1 at 5:00 p.m.

Location: Park on the corner of Ruth Street and Salisbury Street

AHA! Holiday Shop & Stroll

Date and Time: Friday, December 1 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, December 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Downtown New Bedford

On Dec. 1 and 2, New Bedford area residents are invited to stroll the festively decorated cobblestoned streets of the Whaling City’s downtown, to shop locally for holiday gifts, hear caroling, dine out, jump aboard fire truck rides, meet Santa, witness the city’s tree lighting and more.

City of New Bedford Official Christmas Tree Lighting

Date and Time: Saturday, December 2 at 4:30 p.m.

Location: Pleasant Street in Front of Main Library Downtown

Join Mayor Jon Mitchell, New Bedford City Councilors and the New Bedford community for the annual tree lighting celebration! At 4:30 p.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus will lead a parade up William Street to the Main Library.  The parade will feature the award-winning New Bedford High School Whaler Marching Band and the All-City Middle School Marching Band and Color Guard.  The countdown celebration will feature holiday songs, greetings from local elected officials and an appearance by Santa Claus! In addition, plans for City Celebrates! on New Year’s Eve will be announced. New Bedford Community Services Department will serve complimentary hot chocolate! 

A New England Nutcracker, New Bedford Ballet

Date and Time: Ten performances will take place over two weekends.

-          Saturday, December 2 at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.

-          Sunday, December 3 at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.

-          Friday, December 8 at 6:30 and 8:00 p.m.

-          Saturday, December 9 at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.

-          Sunday, December 10 at 1:30 and 3:00 p.m.

Location: NBB Community Theatre, 2343 Purchase Street

New Bedford Ballet will perform its annual production of A New England Nutcracker December 2 through December 10, set to Tchaikovsky’s beloved score. Journey back to the 1850s, as this favorite holiday story is reimagined through New Bedford's historic whaling era, and prepare for the "City That Lit the World" to light up your holiday season. Ticket prices are $12 for adults and $7 for seniors, students, and children.  Group rates for non-profit organizations are available.  All proceeds from the ballet support the New Bedford Ballet Foundation, a non-profit organization.

Visit for more information.

Cookies and Paws

Date and Time: Sunday, December 3 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Location: Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn Street

Join in the holiday spirit! Let your kids’ imagination GO WILD as they decorate their very own paw print sugar cookies! Your child will enjoy up-close interactions with some of the Zoo’s animal ambassadors while they demonstrate their artistic abilities using candy canes, gum drops, brightly colored icing, and so much more. Continue to share the holidays by taking your creations home for family & friends. Each guest will be given two paw print cookies to decorate. Members: $5 per person. Non-members: $10 per person includes admission. Children 1 and under are free. Visit for more information. 

A Very Electric Christmas

Date and Time: Sunday, December 3 at 2:00 p.m.

Location: Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, 684 Purchase Street

Brighten your holidays with Lightwire Theater’s A Very Electric Christmas! Audiences of all ages will treasure this magical and captivating tale of family, friendship and hope set to timeless holiday hits including Nat King Cole, Mariah Carey and Tchaikovsky. Ticket prices: $10 / $13. To purchase tickets in groups of 10 or more (and secure a group discount rate), call 508-997-5664 x123 or email

Festival of Lights Celebration at Clasky Common Park

Date and Time: Sunday, December 3 at 5:00 p.m.

Location: Clasky Common Park at County and Pope Streets 

Monte Park/A.J. Gomes Neighborhood Association Tree Lighting

Date and Time: Monday, December 4 at 5:30 p.m.

Location: Monte Park located at Acushnet Avenue and Cannon Street

Buttonwood Park Neighborhood Association Tree Lighting

Date and Time: Wednesday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Buttonwood Senior Center, 1 Oneida Street

Children’s New Bedford Bookfest

Date and Time: Saturday, December 9 and Sunday, December 10 from 12 Noon to 4:00 p.m.

Location: Groundwork!, 1213 Purchase Street

This special kids’ edition of New Bedford Bookfest will feature 20 authors and booksellers and 10 specially selected illustrators in the Groundwork! Gallery. Children’s book authors interested in participating can sign-up below. Children’s book illustrators should email .JPG examples of their work to

26th Annual Holiday House Tour

Date and Time: Saturday, December 9, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday, December 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location: Tours begin at the Wamsutta Club, 427 County Street An elegant pre-tour brunch at the Wamsutta Club will be served on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., along with a holiday raffle and silent auction of beautiful gifts, art, antiques and handcrafted items. You will be inspired by the varied architecture and interiors, all beautifully decorated for the season. Always popular on the tour are the costumed historic interpreters greeting visitors at one of the historic homes. Reservations recommended but not required. Call the Wamsutta Club directly at 508-997-7431 to make your reservation. 

Annual Santa Sightings 5K Fun Run and Walk!

Date and Time: Saturday, December 9 at 12:30 p.m. (youth run) and 1 p.m. (Santa Run 5K)

Location: Race starts at MacArthur Drive and Union Street

Hundreds of runners in Santa suits participate in this annual family-oriented run through the historic city of New Bedford. Visit for more information or to register to participate!

A Christmas Carol

Date and Time: Saturday, December 9 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Location: Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, 684 Purchase Street

Nebraska Caravan Theatre’s celebrated adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is an ensemble musical that thrills Zeiterion patrons year after year. Woven throughout this classic tale are beautiful arrangements and moving renditions of holiday songs such as, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen,” “Greensleeves,” and many more. Featuring a cast of 23 performers, live musicians, and Broadway-style scenery and costumes, audiences cherish this sumptuous holiday classic. Tickets: $19/ $27/ $37. To purchase tickets in groups of 10 or more (and secure a group discount rate), call 508-997-5664 x123 or email

AHA! City Sidewalks

Date and Time: Tuesday, December 14 at 5:00 p.m.

Location: Downtown New Bedford

-          The United Way of Greater New Bedford hosts photos with Santa, snacks, and a craft in the lobby of the DeMello International Center (128 Union Street) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. Plus, check out a sampling of Portuguese classes being offered at the Center this winter, 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

-          Christmas crafts, caroling, and toy collecting at Pilgrim United Church of Christ:

Crafts from 6:00 to 7:30pm in the Church Home (634 Purchase Street). Hot cocoa will be served.

Caroling from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the Church (635 Purchase Street) with Scott Alan Correia on piano.

Toy drive for children in need: visitors may bring an unwrapped toy to donate.

-          Global Learning Charter Public School winter craft, cocoa station and the GLCPS jazz band:

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the New Bedford Whaling Museum’s Jacobs Family Gallery (18 Johnny Cake Hill).

-          Family fun at the New Bedford Public Library (613 Pleasant Street):

Stop by Santa’s workshop!

Story time (The Last Christmas Tree) and ornament making with Little People’s College starting at 6pm.

Caricatures with New Bedford Park, Recreation and Beaches, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.

-          An evening of music at the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum (396 County Street).

Get in the holiday spirit with the music of Our Sisters’ School Chorus performed in the museum parlors, 5:30 to 6:30pm

-          Buzzards Bay Coalition’s Wheeler Bay Learning Center (114 Front Street) to learn all about plankton. Discover what makes this beloved cartoon villain and microscopic organism so important to your everyday life. You’ll also get the chance to build a plankton ornament and walk away with some big love for some small creatures. 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Breakfast with Santa & Friends

Date and Time: Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17

Location: Buttonwood Park Zoo, 425 Hawthorn Street

Whether you’re naughty or nice, you’re invited to join us for Breakfast with Santa & Friends! Enjoy a delicious breakfast buffet, share your wish list with Santa and meet some of the Zoo’s favorite resident animals. Be sure to bring a camera to capture your visit with Santa.  Free train and carousel rides, weather permitting, are included.  Space is limited, so reserve your spot. Zoo Members: $20 per person. Non-members: $25 per person, includes Zoo admission. Children under 1 are free. for more information. 

New Bedford Symphony Orchestra’s Family Holiday Pops Concert

Date and Time: Saturday, December 16, at 3:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Location: Zeiterion Performing Arts Center, 684 Purchase Street

​Come celebrate the holiday season with the NBSO in this fun, festive concert!​ The Family Holiday Pops Concerts feature all the holiday music you love, played by our great orchestra. With our family-friendly atmosphere and choice of performance times, this is the perfect family holiday outing. Make your holiday season sparkle with a special experience only the NBSO can provide.

Bullard Street Neighborhood Association Tree Lighting

Date and Time: Saturday, December 17 at 6:30 p.m.

Location: Riverside Park on the corner of Belleville Avenue and Tallman Street 

Custom House Square Shop Saturday
Date: Saturday, December 17, 12 Noon- 5:00 p.m.

Location: Custom House Square (Intersection of William Street and Acushnet Avenue in the Historic Downtown)

Downtown will be full of holiday spirit, with an array of festive activities in and around Custom House Square including: Free horse drawn carriage rides, pictures with Mr. & Mrs. Claus on the big red sled,  a complimentary gift wrapping station, The Trustees of Reservations Greens (swags/wreaths) sale, The Whaling City Knots will demonstrate and sell their decorative rope creations, plus Mass in Motion Winter Farmer’s Market!

Seamen’s Bethel Christmas Candlelight Service, featuring Sisters in Song

Date and Time: Sunday, December 17 at 4:00 p.m.

Location: Seamen’s Bethel, 15 Johnny Cake Hill 

City Celebrates! New Year’s Eve

Date and Time: Sunday, December 31

Location: Downtown New Bedford

Ring in the New Year with amazing street performers, stilt walkers, jugglers, fire-eaters, and much more. City Celebrates! details, including the spectacular fireworks display from State Pier on New Bedford’s waterfront, will be announced later this month.

-City of New Bedford

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