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Rudolph’s River Run, holiday tree lighting set for Dec. 3 at site of new Town Square

The turkey leftovers have been cleared out of the fridge, Black Friday shopping deals are ending and Christmas music fills the airwaves. The holiday season has officially arrived.

Riverhead Town has announced several events over the next few weeks to celebrate the season, including an inaugural tree lighting ceremony at the space where the new Town Square will be located.

A four-mile, holiday-themed walk/run will be held on the morning of Dec. 3 and is called the Rudolph’s River Run. The run will start at Tanger Outlets and the route will take runners along the Peconic River before ending at the new Town Square.

The race is a partnership with RaceAwesome and the Town of Riverhead and presented by RXR and Georgica Green Ventures, the master developers of the Railroad Avenue redevelopment.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar called the festivities planned a “historic day in Riverhead,” signaling the first official events for the Town Square. She said she anticipates both events becoming mainstays in downtown Riverhead “for many years to come.”

“I hope residents and visitors alike will participate in both events on Dec. 3 and continue to join us at many future events as our new Town Square continues to evolve,” she said in a statement.

A holiday tree has already been place in the Town Square and the fences blocking off the area since demolition began last year have been cleared out. The space is now grass.

Warner’s Nursery in Calverton donated the evergreen tree . The Town Board approved a resolution to accept the donation at its Sept. 7 meeting.

The river run starts at 9 a.m. and the tree lighting ceremony begins at 3:30 p.m. The race will also feature a 1K run for children.

Participants will be treated to hot cocoa, chicken soup and roasted marshmallows after the race in the town square. An awards ceremony will also be held afterward. The Riverhead Salvation Army will be collecting new, unwrapped toys from those who wish to donate. Runners are encouraged to bring a toy to donate.

Registration can be done online here. Discounted prices are available in advance and registration ranges from $14 for the kids run to $49 for adults in the main race.

The Riverhead Middle School and High School choirs are scheduled to perform at the tree lighting ceremony. The lighting will take place at 5 p.m.

The holiday spirit will be alive one week later with the return of the popular holiday bonfire and parade. The Riverhead Lions Club will host the 70th annual holiday parade, starting at Osborn Avenue and West Main Street. The parade will go east and loop south to the Peconic Riverfront where the 22nd annual bonfire will take place. The event will feature free hot chocolate.

Santa will also be making an appearance.

The parade is scheduled for 3 p.m. and the bonfire and Santa House will be open from 4 to 6 p.m.

A rain date is set for Dec. 17. More information can be found here.

The development of the town square will be done over several phases, gradually transforming downtown Riverhead into a vibrant, walkable, riverfront area filled with family-friendly activities. The Town Board earlier this year designated J. Petrocelli Development Associates as the master developer for the project.

The initial development of space across from the Suffolk Theater that has now been cleared will include interactive environmental art and science exhibits, movable tables and chairs, oversized games and a small performance area.