The Dec. 1 First Friday in downtown Middletown — “Merry Middletown” — will include a Christmas tree lighting, an appearance from Santa Claus and a special shopping event at local businesses. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Downtown Middletown businesses to ring in holidays with tree lighting

The Christmas tree lighting will take place at 6 p.m. at Canal Park, located next to Gracie’s restaurant at 1131 Central Ave.

A Letters to Santa station and mailbox as well as carolers and flash mobs performed by elves will also be a part of tonight’s “Merry Middletown” event from 5 to 9 p.m.

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Visitors can also do their holiday shopping at downtown businesses during Merry Moonlight Shopping, which will offer a chance to save up to 40 percent at local businesses. Free gift wrapping will be offered for all purchases made tonight at local downtown businesses.

Santa Claus will be available for photos at Shutter Girls Photography, 1118 Central Ave., until 7:30 p.m. The studio will also host photos with Santa from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 16 and Dec. 23.