A Festival of Lights


Celebrate the holidays with annual tree lightings and festivities around the Bay State

 BOSTON – November 4, 2013 – There is nothing quite like that moment when the Christmas tree lights flicker on, illuminating the entire room or sometimes, an entire cityscape. See the many holiday light displays around Massachusetts to get in the holiday spirit. From tree lighting ceremonies to festivals, the state is not short of ways to renew holiday traditions or establish new ones. December might be a chilly month, but marveling at the state’s tallest trees, largest light displays and listening to the hymns of carol singers will surely warm the soul. For more information on Massachusetts holiday festivities, visit massvacation.com.

Greater Boston

Faneuil Hall Tree ~ Boston, MA

November 16, 2013

The tallest tree in Boston stands in front of Faneuil Hall Marketplace, one of the nation’s premiere urban marketplaces rich in history. The tree reaches 85 feet into the air. During the lighting ceremony, bell-ringers will chime, the Boston Symphony Orchestra will play and a cappella choirs will sing. At 5 p.m., the Mayor will begin a countdown to the giant light switch, turning on more than 300,000 lights that drape buildings and trees in Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  faneuilhallmarketplace.com

Boston Common ~ Boston, MA

November 15, 2013

The towering tree in the Boston Common, the oldest park in the United States, is an annual gift from the people of Nova Scotia as a thank you for Boston’s aid during a 1917 explosion.  Many consider this display the most important in Boston and one of the oldest traditions. This December’s lighting ceremony will be the 71st, featuring live performances and finishing with the lighting by Mayor Menino’s wife, Angela Faletra.

Public Menorah Lighting on the Common ~ Boston, MA

November 27, 2013 – December 5, 2013

Nearby the Park Street T stop on the Boston Common, an enormous menorah facing the State House will illuminate nightly from November 27 to December 5, every night of Hanukkah. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the public Menorah lighting. The Menorah is a sacred candelabrum displayed and lit on the eight nights of Hanukkah and symbolizes a dedication to making the world a brighter place.

North of Boston

Annual Haverhill Christmas Stroll ~ Haverhill, MA

December 7, 2013

Haverhill focuses on celebrating the local. Each year, a Haverhill resident donates a 50-70 foot tree to the city cut from his or her own backyard to light in Washington Square. Haverhill residents gather to watch a tree from their native town illuminate downtown. This year’s Christmas Stroll is centered around shopping and dining locally, inviting attendees to support Haverhill’s local businesses. Bring the kids along to walk through Santa’s Village and meet the Christmas icon, watch and sing along to musical performances and stroll the street of downtown Haverhill.

Cape Cod and the Islands

Nantucket Noel Christmas Stroll ~ Nantucket, MA

November 29, 2013, December 6-8, 2013

Crisp sea area and glittering trees along cobblestone streets give the Nantucket Noel Christmas Stroll its New England charm. Nantucket Noel begins the day after Thanksgiving with the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and community caroling. More than 100 trees come alive with color and light. The celebration continues December 6-8, when Santa and Mrs. Clause arrive via Coast Guard vessel and escorted up Straight Wharf by the Town Crier. The weekend also features craft shows, exhibitions and performances and the annual Christmas House tour on Friday Evening. A Christmas Marketplace stands at the corner of Easy and Main Streets offering food, warm drinks, craft and merchandise on December 7. Catch a ride on the Nantucket Sleigh Ride (formerly Hop On/Hop Off shuttle service) on Saturday, December 7.

Oak Bluffs Christmas Tree Lighting ~ Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard, MA                                       

December 1, 2013

On December 1, just before the lights flip on, illuminating the island’s tree, the Vineyard Classic Brass Ensemble will perform a medley of traditional holiday carols. Immediately following, the public is welcome to nosh on holiday baked goods and drink hot chocolate at the Game Room on Circuit Avenue. Santa will then visit to collect donated food for the Island Food Pantry in conjunction with the gift of giving.

Cape Cod Enchanted Village ~ Hyannis, Cape Cod, MA

December 6, 2013 – January 2, 2014

The Enchanted Village at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis boasts more than 100,000 lights, costumed carolers and a winter night bonfire, offering a healthy dose of holiday nostalgia. Giant snowmen and twinkling trees decorate the landscape. On December 7, in the Enchanted Village, the Cape Cod Surftones will perform in their holiday concert.

South of Boston

New Bedford Holiday Stroll ~ New Bedford, MA

December 7 and 8, 2013

Parade up William Street with the New Bedford High School Marching Band and Color Guard to the library to join Santa Claus and his spouse, the Mayor and Miss New Bedford in lighting the tree. The jolly Clauses will arrive by antique fire truck, which is also available for children’s rides. Stroll the streets and wander into local shops and restaurants to the sounds of the meandering musicians downtown.

Edaville Festival of Lights and Polar Express ~ Edaville, MA

November 22, 2013 – January 1, 2014

Gather at this spectacular holiday setting featuring an explosion of lights.  Passengers relax comfortably in warm and dry coaches while riding on the Edaville train replicating The Polar Express. Vintage amusement rides entice the kids, seasonal treats call and light displays shine.   

Central Massachusetts

Worcester Annual Festival of Lights ~ Worcester, MA

December 6, 2013

This festival on the Worcester Common celebrates the season with the annual holiday tree lighting, ice-skating around the one-year-old rink on the Worcester Common Oval and some face-time with Santa and Claus and his elves.  Afterwards, hear local choruses sing holiday carols while sipping a steamy cup of hot chocolate.


Western Massachusetts

Bright Nights ~ Springfield, MA

November 27 – January 5, 2013

Bright Nights at Forest Park is one of the Northeast’s most exquisite holiday lighting experiences with nearly three miles of lighting displays. Enjoy the wonders of Seuss Land, Jurassic World, Toy Land, North Pole Village and many more in the comfort of your own car. Along the way, tune your car radio to 98.5 FM to enjoy holiday music as you sightsee. brightnights.org

About MOTT:

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) is the state agency dedicated to promoting Massachusetts as a leisure-travel destination. An integral part of the state’s economy, tourism generates close to $1 billion in state and local taxes and $16.9 billion in travel related expenditures, supporting 124,700 in-state jobs. massvacation.com


For more information, contact:

Lisa Simmons, Director of Communications

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism

(617) 973-8508



Molly Kravitz, Public Relations Manager

Connelly Partners

Mobile # 317-919-5252; Office #617-521-5431