Santa's coming to town for Hospitality Night Dec. 7 — and this year he won't be competing with a football game.

The city and the Chamber of Commerce sponsor Hospitality Night, a highlight of the year in Laguna. Downtown Merchants will stay open late to dispense cheer to browsers and buyers. Music and comestibles will be provided by community groups.

"Everybody in town will be coming down for the party and the city will be a sparkling sea of lights," chamber President Michael Kinsman said.

The city pays for the lights, the chamber puts them up, Kinsman said.

Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. with the Laguna Presbyterian Church craft bazaar and a bell choir concert and community sing-a-long in the church garden on the corner of Forest Avenue and Second Street.

Nearby, La Playa Preschool will set up its tamale stand — a word to the wise, reserve early for a later pickup or you will be out of luck.

The Laguna Community Band will perform at 5 p.m. at the Peppertree Parking Lot just as Santa begins his traditional trip through town in the 1931 Seagrave pumper engine driven by retired Laguna Beach Fire Department Capt. Eugene D'Isabella. Santa will be accompanied by carolers riding in a Laguna Beach trolley.

As Santa wends his way toward downtown, the Thurston Middle School Bank will be performing on the city hall grass.

Santa is due to arrive at city hall at 6 p.m. He will disembark and join with the mayor — to be decided at the Dec. 4 City Council meeting — to light the pepper tree in front of city hall.

Last year, Santa's trip through town concluded at the corner of Forest Avenue and Glenneyre Street to accommodate the traffic expected for the league semi-final football game between Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar high schools.

The City Council voted unanimously to return this year to the plan, begun in 1952, which includes Santa leading merrymakers from city hall to his holiday home on the corner of Glenneyre Street and Forest Avenue after the tree lighting ceremony. Children will line up to meet with Santa, confide their hopes for Christmas and get their pictures taken.

Anneliese School's choir will sing at 6:10 p.m. at the Main Stage near Santa's house, where live music will also be performed.

Free passes to "It's a Wonderful Life" will be offered by the chamber and Laguna South Coast Theatre.

Revelers on foot won't have to compete with vehicular traffic. Forest Avenue between South Coast Highway and Third Street, Beach Street from Ocean Avenue to Forest, Second Street from Forest to Mermaid and the Peppertree lot will be closed to vehicles during the celebration. Closures will begin at 3 p.m., according to a city press release. Forest Avenue between the highway and Glenneyre will reopen at 9 p.m.

Forest Avenue between Broadway and Third Street also will be closed to vehicular traffic, with the exception of city and OCTA buses, between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

City officials encourage motorists to take alternate routes and to carpool.

The city will send courtesy traffic alert reminders via text message and email to subscribers beginning Friday afternoon. To subscribe to this free service, visit http://www.lagunabeachcity.net and click on the Traffic Alerts icon.

Free public parking will be available at the Forest and Laguna Canyon, Lumberyard and Community and Susi Q Center parking lots.

For more traffic information, contact Recreation Supervisor Tom Toman at (949) 497-0303.

For more entertainment information, call (497) 494-1018.

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