Santa Claus will arrive in Laguna Beach for the city's Hospitality Night Friday.

Holiday revelers can welcome Santa at 6 p.m. in front of City Hall, where he will help light a pepper tree, said city recreation supervisor Tom Toman.

Thurston Middle School's band will perform in front of City Hall, at 505 Forest Ave., prior to Santa's arrival, Toman said.

Festivities will begin at 5 p.m. and include downtown businesses opening their doors to the public while musicians entertain visitors throughout the night, according to a city news release.

To accommodate pedestrian traffic in the downtown area, portions of Forest Avenue, Beach Street, Third Street and the Pepper Tree parking lot will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event.

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

The public should expect heavy traffic on Friday afternoon and early evening, and motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes and carpool.

Road closures in the downtown area will begin at approximately 3 p.m. Forest Avenue between Broadway and Third Street will be closed to vehicular traffic (with the exception of city and Orange County Transportation Authority buses) between 5:45 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.

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

The city and Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce co-sponsor the event.

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Winter recreation registration begins

Registration began Monday for the city's winter recreation programs, according to a city news release.

The city mailed winter brochures to residents on Nov. 27, and copies are also available at the Susi Q Center, community pool, community services department and online.

People can register for activities online at http://www.lagunabeachcity.net. by clicking on "Recreation Activities," or by mail-in or drop-off to the community services department at 515 Forest Ave.

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Wall repairs to begin on Mermaid Street

Crews started repairing a failing retaining wall along Mermaid Street this week, a city news release said.

Workers will replace the wall on the south side of the street between Second and Third streets.

The new wall will have brick facing with several alcoves to be used for future public art pieces.

Work will take about two months to complete.

The city awarded Yakar General contractors of San Dimas a contract for $225,000 for repairs, and an additional $45,000 for change orders for unforeseen circumstances, public works director Steve May wrote in an email.

The money is in the current budget and came from the city's Capital Improvement Fund, May said.

—Bryce Alderton

Twitter: @AldertonBryce