Thousands Attend West Hartford Holiday Stroll, Visit Santa

Ricardo Jaden Anderson bounced from foot to foot Thursday night in Blue Back Square. He had just told Santa what he wanted for Christmas — a race car.

Minutes before, Santa and Mrs. Claus entered West Hartford on a horse drawn carriage as part of the annual Holiday Stroll.

"I like Santa," Ricardo, 4, of Bloomfield said, smiling. "Maybe he's going to give me a present."

Thousands of people flocked to Blue Back Square and West Hartford Center for the free event Thursday night, which featured a tree lighting, performances from local groups and visits from Santa, Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman.

Standing in line to see Santa with her two children, Maryellen Doyle said it was her first time attending the event. Her 3-year-old son, Harris, was excited to meet Santa, she said.

"What a nice way to bring everyone together," the new West Hartford resident said. "It gets everyone in the holiday spirit."

Michal Abramoff said she was happy to hand out blue Hanukkah cookies and gelt near Barnes & Noble. Many people are unsure what Hanukkah is, she said, and the Holiday Stroll was a fun opportunity to educate them.

Hall High School sophomore Ellery Dressley greeted attendees passing by West Hartford Public Library. She was fundraising for the Hall and Conard High School theater trip to perform during the annual Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

"I just like how nice it is that everyone comes up and has a nice time," she said. "Sometimes you need a break to come out with no stress."

Bentley Torres, Fleming's restaurant's private dining director, was among the multiple local restaurant employees handing out free food and drinks.

"It gives people something to do on a Thursday night," she said. "It's a tradition. Everyone looks forward to it."

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