East Hampton kicks off holiday season with parade, Neil Patrick Harris helps light Christmas tree

Mayor Jerry Larson and special guest and resident Neil Patrick Harris lit up the village tree before packed streets of revelers.

Caroline Flynn

Dec 2, 2023, 10:44 PM

Updated 234 days ago


East Hampton was transformed Saturday into a winter wonderland at its first Holiday Celebration.
“When I took office, the goal was to build the crowds on the off-season and help our shop owners and build more community events in our shoulder seasons,” said Mayor Jerry Larsen.
The planning paid off as the streets were bustling once again, much to the delight of East Hampton residents like Shannon Trelese.
“The town was ready,” she said. “You could just feel it. When we came to setup the float, the town was alive.”  
An ice skating rink was set up next to a holiday market where attendees could buy wreaths and check out gingerbread house replicas of notable East Hampton locations. Free holiday movie screenings were shown at the Regal Cinemas thanks to the East Hampton Town Police Benevolent Association.
“It’s a tremendous sense of community and so heartwarming to see all the people who we have who are involved and engaged," said Mary Waserstein, president of the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce.
Everyone’s favorite part seemed to be meeting Santa Claus, who showed up to his parade in a tanker truck.
"Santa's sleigh, the elves are working on it right now getting it ready for the big day,” explained actor and East Hampton resident Neil Patrick Harris.
The star of “How I Met Your Mother” was able to sneak in a word with Old Saint Nick because he was in charge of a very important task – lighting the village tree.
"I love feeling like a local. I'm from New Mexico in a town kind of, not dissimilar to this so Thanksgivings and Halloweens and the holidays is always a special time of year and made better in a town like East Hampton," he shared.

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