ChristmasFest fun in Port Dover November 18, 2023

Santa and Mrs Claus at Christmas Fest last year

Santa Claus is coming to town for Port Dover’s ChristmasFest on November 18th! This traditional event returns once again in 2023 to mark the beginning of the holiday season in Port Dover leading up to Christmas.

On Saturday, Nov. 18th at 1:00 p.m. a crowd of children and adults gather along the pier waiting for the North Pole visitors. Santa arrives at 1:00 p.m. in Port Dover fashion by fish tug and escorted into the harbour by Canada Coast Guard.

Shortly after, Santa and his entourage are the highlight of the parade through the downtown. Santa’s horse-drawn carriage takes him to Lighthouse Theatre. Following the parade, children are invited to the theatre’s upstairs lounge to meet Santa, take a photo and share their holiday wish list.

The ChristmasFest parade is a great opportunity for businesses and organizations to enter a float, joining the holiday festivities and spreading cheer with parade-goers. The parade is organized by Port Dover Board of Trade with information at or by phoning 519-583-1314.

This year’s parade will follow the traditional ChristmasFest parade route travelling from Harbour Street north on Main Street to McNab Street and south on St George Street, ending on Market Street West at Lighthouse Theatre.

ChristmasFest fun continues all day with activities and local holiday shopping. Port Dover merchants will be open throughout the day and many stay open late into the evening for Moonlight Madness shopping.

A group of holiday shoppers at last year's ChristmasFest event
A group of holiday shoppers at last year’s ChristmasFest event.

Before and after the parade, stores will have seasonal inventory ready for shoppers who have gift-lists for this Christmas. Local stores and shops are well-stocked with holiday merchandise.

Throughout ChristmasFest there will be free draws for shoppers to win great Christmas Gift Baskets. Free ballots are available in participating stores.

The Port Dover Harbour Museum plans a scavenger hunt, colouring pages, and a special holiday-themed craft or activity ready for kids ages 4-10 after the parade. Admission and participation is by donation. The museum is located on Harbour Street.

In the downtown shopping area from 5 to 8 p.m. there will be horse-drawn wagon rides.

Dine out and stay for more evening fun in Port Dover! Kick off your Christmas shopping with Moonlight Madness sales at stores all over town.

Enter a ballot to win a gift basket filled with local products. There are many gift baskets available and entering the draw allows you to win any basket. Organized by Port Dover Board of Trade.

Starting at 6:15 p.m., warm up at the Bonfire on the Beach with carolling at Port Dover beach located at the end of Walker Street.

Now is the time to get involved planning decorations for homes and businesses or putting a float in the ChristmasFest parade.

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