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Bridgewater Plaza Expanding Annual Holiday Event

“Santa Around Bridgewater Plaza,” one of Smith Mountain Lake’s oldest and most beloved holiday traditions, will take place Nov. 26 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bridgewater Plaza.

The annual event kicks off the holiday season with refreshments and specials by participating businesses and an Elf on the Shelf contest organized by the SML Regional Chamber of Commerce. 

Mango’s Bar & Grill assistant manager Kara Craighead said the restaurant is excited to expand this year’s event by hosting artisan crafters, a photo booth and face painting for kids.

“We’ve decided to stay open in the off season this year, so we’re really looking forward to joining in the holiday festivities at Bridgewater Plaza,” she said. “We can’t wait to add some extra touches to make this fun-filled holiday tradition even more awesome this year.”

Also new this year, Mango’s and Smith Mountain Lake Coffee House will be collecting new, unwrapped toys for Lake Christian Ministries, which donates to approximately 300 children each year through its “A Child’s Christmas” program. The coffee house will also have a collection box at its Bedford County location, near Food Lion.

Ryan Waters, managing partner of Bridgewater Marina & Boat Rentals, said Santa will arrive by boat at 11 a.m. and then head to Smith Mountain Lake Coffee House to hear wishes until 1 p.m. 

“This is a day all of the merchants at Bridgewater Plaza look forward to every year,” Waters said. “Parents and grandparents love to bring their little ones to see Santa, stroll the decks of the plaza, enjoy some food and do some holiday shopping without having to leave Smith Mountain Lake.”

SML Coffee House owner Kevin Gray noted that the celebration corresponds with Small Business Saturday, a national movement that encourages people to shop locally for the holiday season. 

“It’s important to shop local, especially this time of year when foot traffic is slower at retail businesses and they could really use a boost,” Gray said. “Smith Mountain Lake has so many amazing businesses that would be thrilled to help you find the perfect holiday gifts.”

Santa Around Bridgewater Plaza is free. For photos with Santa, please bring your own camera. Drawing for the Elf on the Shelf contest will take place at 3 p.m. at Mango’s.

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