Santa arrived in downtown Riverhead in style in December 2018. Photo: Denise Civiletti

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the magic of the season in the Riverhead area and across the North Fork. Here’s a roundup of this year’s holiday events and happenings in Riverhead. For more events, see the RiverheadLOCAL events calendar.

The Riverhead Holiday Light Show at L.I. Sports Park will hold shows on multiple nights between now and Christmas. Gates open at 5 p.m. $23 per car. Photo with Santa $22. Tickets available online here.

Jamesport Fire Department hosts its annual Christmas tree lighting at the George Young Community Center Wednesday, Dec. 4 beginning at 6 p.m. Hot cocoa and caroling. Santa arrives by fire truck, followed by pictures with Santa inside the community center.

The Big Duck will be lit up for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 4 during a ceremony at Big Duck Ranch from 7 to 9 p.m. Santa arrives by fire truck.

Photo: Emil Breitenbach Jr.

The Wading River Historical Society holds its annual Holiday Tea and Antiques Appraisal on Friday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. at the Wading River Congregational Church reception hall. The program will include musical entertainment by SWR High School students, antiques appraisals by Lloyd Gerard, raffles, door prizes, finger sandwiches, tea and mulled cider.

WLNG’s Rockabilly Christmas takes the stage at the Suffolk Theater Friday, Dec. 6 at 8 p.m, featuring Jason D. Williams, Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks, and Prentiss McNeil.

Old Steeple Church hosts its annual Chinese auction, holiday greenery sale and luncheon on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Suffolk County Historical Society holds its annual Wooden Wonderland: Holiday craft show and sale on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Baiting Hollow Congregational Church holds its annual holiday greens sale on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sale includes handmade Christmas wreaths and table decorations and a white elephant table. Light refreshments are free.


Talmage Farm Agway will host its annual Pet Santa event on Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Bring your pet for a free photo with Santa. All pets welcome and all pets get a free gift.

The Shoppes at East Wind will host its annual holiday tree lighting on Saturday, Dec. 7, 3-7 p.m., with DJ, dancing and a visit with Santa Claus, who arrives by fire truck.

Truth Community Church in Flanders will host a Christmas tree lighting, bonfire and visit from Santa on Saturday, Dec. 7 beginning at 6 p.m.

The North Shore Community Band will be performing a holiday concert at St. John the Baptist Church in Wading River on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. The season’s most festive melodies and classics such as “Christmas Festival,” “Hanukah Festival,” and Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride” and many more more will be performed. The event is free and all are welcome to atten.d

“One Christmas Night”, a new holiday musical from the Living Water Church, will premier on Friday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a second showing on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15 and a portion of the proceeds will go to various local community charities. Tickets can be purchased at


Riverhead High School Cooking Club’s fifth annual Pancake Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 8 to 11 a.m., at Riverhead High School. Tickets are $6 each. Children under 7 are free. This annual fundraiser allows the Cooking Club to purchase holiday gifts for local children.

Santa Claus will stop by the Railroad Museum of Long Island – Riverhead from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Santa will arrive from the North Pole via the Museum’s 1921 H.K on Dec. 14 and 15. Porter steam train at 12 p.m. Refreshments will be served and a LIONEL Polar Express Toy Train set will be raffled. Visit the gift shop to purchase presents for the train lovers in your life. This event is free and open to the public.

Holiday Open House and Toys for Tots toy drive on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Clovis Point Vineyards in Jamesport.

Santa parade & holiday bonfire postponed to Dec. 21

See below.

Celebrate the season at the L.I. Aquarium’s annual Santa Brunch on Sunday, Dec. 15. Enjoy a buffet brunch in the Sea Star Ballroom. Make a special take-home holiday keepsake and don’t forget the camera to capture a family photo with Santa. Then spend the day in the -Aquarium.  It’s family fun for everyone! Seating Times: 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. Tickets: Adults 13 and up: $54.95; adult members: $49.95; kids 3-12: $26.95; kid members: $23.95

First Baptist Church will host its 35th Annual Christmas Concert on Sunday, Dec. 15 beginning at 6 p.m. The First Baptist Church choir will perform Christmas hymns and carols. The choir will be joined by special guests Elder Melvin Robinson Jr. and Deuboyce Robinson from the group “Heaven Sent” and the Riverhead High School chamber choir.

“It’s a Wonderful Life” live radio play at the Suffolk Theater on Sunday, Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m. The show is directed by Cindy Clifford and will be in the style of an old-tyme radio show. Suffolk Performing Arts Alliance produces the show. Tickets are $5 for children and $15 for

A John Denver Christmas at The Suffolk Theater on Thursday, Dec. 19 at 7:30 p.m. starring Ted Vigil, who is considered to be the leading John Denver tribute artist in the world with a striking resemblance in appearance and sound. He has toured with the legends Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. Vigil will perform John Denver hits

Holiday Movie Marathon at Riverhead Free Library, Friday, Dec. 20, from 2 to 8 p.m. Movies will be chosen by vote (ballot box across from circulation desk). Top three movies will be shown: 2, 4 and 6 p.m. Free holiday treats.

The Lords of 52nd Street holiday show at Suffolk Theater on Friday, Dec. 20 at 8 p.m. Join the band that recorded with Billy Joel and produced legendary albums such as “The Stranger,” “Turnstiles” “52nd Street,” and more. The original hit-making band including: Richie Cannata, Liberty Devitto, Russell Javors and David Clark. Tickets start at $46 and can be purchased online. Doors, bar and restaurant open at 6:30 p.m., show at 8 p.m. There is a $10 food and beverage minimum per person at all tables.

Pancake breakfast with Santa at Living Water Church on Saturday, Dec. 21 from 9 to 11 a.m. Photo opportunities of children and families with Santa will be available throughout the event. This event is free to attend and open to the public.

Toy Giveaway and pictures with Santa on Saturday Dec. 21 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Polish Hall in Riverhead. Hosted by LIR Clothing and Tyre Lodge, who will be giving away an assortment of new unwrapped toys to children of all ages. Hot chocolate, deserts and activities, including pictures with Santa.

Lions Club 68th Annual Santa Parade on Main Street in Riverhead steps off at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21, beginning at Osborn Avenue. Parade heads east and ends on the Peconic Riverfront where the town’s holiday bonfire event takes place.

The bonfire on the riverfront Dec. 8, 2018. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead’s 20th Annual Holiday Bonfire on the Peconic Riverfront, 4-7 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 21. Caroling, free hot cocoa, visit with Santa in his gingerbread house.

Enjoy five-time Grammy Award winning singer-songwriter-producer CeeLo Green when he brings his holiday hits tour to the Suffolk Theater on Sunday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets start at $65 and can be purchased online. The event will have row seating. There will be no dinner service at the show, but beverages will be available for purchase at the bar.

A free pancake breakfast and carols will be held on Dec. 25 from 9 to 11 a.m. at Church of the Harvest. All members of the community are invited to attend this free event that will start with pancakes and finish with Christmas carols.

Want to add an event to this list? Email the editor.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.