Harford's three municipalities will step into the holiday spirit this weekend with parades and tree lightings.
Standard fare for each event includes visits with Santa Claus and free hot chocolate, candy canes and cookies. And the one-a-day parade schedule will allow avid fans to watch all three.
On Friday night, Havre de Grace's first-Friday-of-the-month activities, which include carriage rides and extended shopping hours, will be punctuated by the Christmas parade, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Karen Green of the county's Parks and Recreation Department said the town's annual event is unique because families are invited to march in the parade.
"We call it the community Christmas card," Green, who is also the parade organizer, said. "It's like having an old-fashioned party in the street."
The parade runs from Congress Avenue to Washington Street to Pennington Avenue, with the tree lighting at the end of the route.
On Saturday, Aberdeen starts its festivities with breakfast from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Santa at Grace United Methodist Church, said City Manager Peter Dacey. A craft fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Aberdeen fire hall.
The parade begins at 3 p.m. at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church on Law Street and runs to West Bel Air Avenue, ending with the tree lighting at Festival Park.
The Bel Air parade starts at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at Main Street and Churchville Road and flows through downtown before turning on Lee Way and ending in Shamrock Park, where a tree-lighting ceremony, caroling and free refreshments will greet visitors.
Before the parade, children can come to Office Street for face painting, caroling, candy canes and hot chocolate, said Gary Clark of the Bel Air Christmas Parade Committee.
Four marching bands and popular children's characters, including Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants also will be in the parade, Clark said.
A bonfire at the park will add warmth to the festivities, said Downtown Manager James Welch.
"It will just be a time for families to come down and sing Christmas carols and gather around the bonfire," Welch said.
The Bel Air Community Band will provide the music.