Christmas By the Sea marks 30th year in Chatham

Holiday spirit pervades town's traditional Main Street

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The Crooked Fence store was chock-a-block with nautically themed gift items and Christmas decorations, including this mermaid who has her eyes on a star.

Holiday festivities will conclude with Chatham First Night

Tucked away in the southeastern corner of Cape Cod, Chatham can take some time for out-of-towners to reach. Getting to Chatham, the only Lower Cape town not crossed by the Mid-Cape Highway, takes a conscious decision to go there. Set apart from the modernization that has spread over much of the Cape, the town in many ways is a throwback to an earlier Cape Cod.

That especially rings true during the town's Christmas By the Sea, an annual holiday event celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Sponsored by the Chatham Merchants' Association, Christmas By the Sea is a potpourri of cookies, hayrides, sales, dances, tours and general good cheer.

Saturday, dawning bright, clear and cold, saw the second day of the Main Street Stroll, which got going the previous day.

Events are slated to continue through New Year's, climaxing in First Night Chatham on Wednesday, Dec. 31. The event this year will celebrate Chatham in the 1940s.

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Hayrides proved a popular draw for people of all ages during the Stroll on Saturday afternoon.

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Catherine Oldham of the Chatham Seal Co. tended to a steady stream of customers, some of whom donned holiday hats in the spirit of the event.

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The Eldredge Public Library, which helps impart a Victorian feel to Main Street, exhibits the Christmas spirit with brightly bowed trees at its entrance.

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Theresa Fano, 16, a sophomore at Chatham High School, and Kerri Robinson, a teaching assistant at the school, wrap gift packages to help raise funds for activities and functions of the school's Class of 2011.

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The Methodist church on Main Street raises its distinctive steeple against the sky.

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