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

Update Dec. 2: Both the Town Square holiday tree lighting ceremony and the Shoppes at East Wind holiday tree lighting ceremony have been postponed to Sunday, Dec. 4, due to the inclement weather forecast for Saturday.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” as Andy Williams’ holiday hit goes, and there is plenty to do during the next few weeks in Riverhead as the winter holidays approach. 

Here’s a run down of events going on during the holiday season:

Town Square Holiday Tree Lighting

Riverhead will hold its first ever holiday tree lighting ceremony at the recently cleared Town Square opposite the Suffolk Theater on Sunday, Dec. 4. The event starts with a “Goat on a Board Puppet Show” at 3:30 p.m., followed by performances from choirs from the Riverhead Middle School, Riverhead High School and East End Disabilities Associates around 4:15 p.m.. The tree lighting will take place at roughly 5 p.m..

There will be hot cider provided by Riverhead Ciderhouse, as well as giveaways and candy canes. 

The town received the donation of a 18-foot-tall Colorado blue spruce tree for the site from Warner’s Nursery. The lighting will be the first major event located at the Town Square site, which has been graded and planted with grass seed, and has a walkway connecting Main Street to the Peconic Riverfront.

Residents enjoy the bonfire on the riverfront in 2019. File photo: Emil Breitenbach Jr.

Main Street Holiday Parade and Riverfront Bonfire

The Riverhead Lions Club 70th Annual Holiday Parade will start at 3 p.m. on Saturday Dec. 10 and march east from along Main Street starting at Osborn Avenue. It’s even said Santa may appear!

The parade will loop south to the Peconic Riverfront, where the 22nd annual Riverhead Business Improvement District bonfire will be ablaze starting at 4 p.m. until 6 p.m.. Free hot chocolate and candy canes will be available, and carolers and a DJ Phil will supply music to the festivities. Santa will be available for pictures in his gingerbread house.

The rain date for the event is scheduled for Dec. 17.

The Big Duck in Flanders is all decked out for the holiday season. Photo: Alek Lewis

Big Duck Lighting Ceremony

The annual holiday lighting of the Big Duck in Flanders will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 30 from 7-9 p.m. at the historic landmark on Flanders Road. The event will feature a visit from Santa on a fire truck, a visit from Long Island Ducks Mascot Quakerjack and duck-themed holiday caroling led by the Riverhead Middle School show choir. 

Hanukkah Community Menorah Lighting

Rabbi Michael Rascoe, left, leads a group of celebrants in the ritual lighting of the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. File Photo: Denise Civiletti

Riverhead’s Jewish community will come together to light the Menorah to celebrate Hanukkah on Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Riverfront Park, organized by Temple Israel of Riverhead. Jelly donuts will be served at the event. Hanukkah starts this year at nightfall on Sunday, Dec. 18 and ends at nightfall on Monday, Dec. 26. 

Historic Christmas at Hallockville

The Hallockville Museum Farm will host its annual Historic Christmas at Hallockville on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 12-3:30 p.m.. Three historic residences on the 28-acre preserved farm will be decorated with holiday displays and staffed by costumed museum guides who will share stories of past holiday celebrations. The event is free.

First Annual Snow Ball at Stotzky Park

The Riverhead Recreation Department will throw its first ever Snow Ball at the Hockey Rink at Stotzky Park on Friday, Dec. 9 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.. The new free family event includes dancing, festive karaoke, snacks and hot chocolate and themed games.

Aquebogue Elementary School students caroling at at the Jamesport tree lighting in 2015. File photo: Peter Blasl

Jamesport Fire Department Tree Lighting

The Jamesport Fire Department will hold its annual tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 1 at 6 pm at the gazebo at Main Road and South Jamesport Avenue. Annual Holiday Tree Lighting. Santa will arrive by fire truck. Free refreshments.

Rudolph’s River Run

The first annual Rudolph’s River Run, a four-mile holiday themed race, will start at 9 a.m. at the Tanger Outlets and end at the new Town Square on Main Street. The event includes a 1k race for children.

Registration for the races are open at Proceeds from the registration fee go towards the Business Improvement District Management Association and Toys for Tots, according to Community Development Director Dawn Thomas.

After the run is completed, hot chocolate, chicken soup and roasted marshmallows will be served in the Town Square, and awards will be presented to winners. The Salvation Army will also be on site to collect new, unwrapped toys for donation.

East End Arts Merry Mart

East End Arts will hold a “Merry Mart” at the Suffolk Theater on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.. The event showcases purchasable gifts made by more than 30 local creatives and businesses. Visitors can see Santa at the event from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can win prizes in a raffle.

Adobe stock photo

Suffolk County Historical Society Wooden Wonderland

The Suffolk County Historical Society will hold its 10th Annual Wooden Wonderland: Holiday Craft Show and Sale at its museum on Main Street on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Dozens of vendors will offer gifts for purchase, including ornaments, home decor, wreaths, soaps and candles, rustic Santas and gnomes, wood carvings, hats and scarves. There will also be live wood carving and woodworking demonstrations inside the historic galleries and outside on the museum’s lawn.

County Parlor Holiday Folk Art and Gift Show

The Hallockville Museum Farm will host the annual Country Parlor Holiday Folk Art and Gift Show on Friday, Nov. 25, Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27. The Friday event will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all of the Saturday and Sunday events will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m..

The Naugles Barn on the farm will be transformed into a holiday shopping venue featuring handcrafted items, artwork and other holiday decor made by artisans and craft makers.

Ornament Making Classes at Hallockville

The Hallockville Museum Farm will host several classes focused on making handmade crafts for the holiday season. Classes include a star Santa miniature punch needle ornament class (Dec. 3 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.), an embroidered cardinal ornament class (Dec. 10 10 a.m.. to 1 p.m.) and a peppermint twist basket weaving class (Dec. 10 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). The classes cost $50 for Hallockville members and $65 for non-members, as well as a fee for materials.

Christmas Tree Lighting at the Shoppes at East Wind

The 6th annual Christmas tree lighting at the Shoppes at East Wind will take place on Sunday, Dec. 4 from 4-8 p.m. and include a mailbox to Santa, a live DJ and dancing, and a visit from Santa on a fire truck.

Ulka, a German Shepard from Jamesport, tells Santa what she wants for Christmas this year. File photo: Courtney Blasl

Pet Photo with Santa at Talmage Farm Agway 

Your pets can take a free photo with Santa at Talmage Farm Agway on Osborn Avenue on Saturday Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. Schedule your appointment at This year’s photo theme is “Christmas By The Sea.”

Annual Holiday Greens Sale

The Baiting Hollow Congregational Church will hold its annual holiday greens sale on Saturday Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the church on Sound Avenue. Handmade Christmas wreaths and table decorations will be for sale.

File photo: Emil Breitenbach Jr.

Railroad Museum of Long Island Holiday Open House

The Railroad Museum of Long Island will host its Holiday Open House on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and Dec. 4 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its Restoration and Visitor’s Center located at 416 Griffing Avenue.  Admission is FREE and everyone is welcome. Santa arrives from the North Pole at 12 noon each day with a gift for all good boys and girls.  Refreshments will be served and a Lionel Polar Express toy train set will be raffled. 

Correction: This article has been amended to correct an error in the day of the week reported for the East End Arts Merry Mart event.

Update Nov. 28: The date of the Jamesport tree-lighting has been moved to Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m.

Editor’s note: This article has been amended to include the Rudolph’s River Run event.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: