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Annual Dads & Kids Holiday Outing

Dec 13, 2011 10:04PM ● By Anonymous

Dads are notorious last-minute shoppers, and that’s why organizers of the “Dads & Kids Holiday Outing” in Downtown Cambridge decided to schedule the annual event on the last shopping Saturday before Christmas. Granddads are welcome, too, of course!

The event was initially conceived by Cambridge resident Brett Summers as something quite informal. Two years ago, he proposed in an e-mail to a bunch of his fellow “dad” friends that they all agree to give moms in their households an afternoon off at Christmastime by taking the kids to downtown Cambridge. Unfortunately, the day he scheduled the first-ever affair saw 20 inches of snow fall.

But the event did come off last year, and Summers hopes that it continues to build momentum in 2012, when the Dads & Kids Holiday Outing is slated for this coming Saturday, December 17.

“I’d like to see this become a new tradition in this area, the kind of memory families can talk about for years to come,” Summers said. “Everyone tends to get so busy and frantic at this time of year—we want to help inspire dads to devote a few extra hours this season to making lasting holiday memories with their kids.”

Summers is a member of the board of directors at Cambridge Main Street, and the organization is working to help him promote the event to the community.

The idea is for dads or granddads to treat kids or grandkids to a holiday lunch at a downtown restaurant, then hit the shops in search of perfect gifts for moms and other loved ones. Along the way, they can make the most of opportunities stop in at museums or galleries, and perhaps attend a special Christmas event.

Half a dozen downtown eateries will be open on Saturday, with the choices ranging from sub sandwiches and hot dogs to full-service menus and decadent desserts.

Nearly 20 downtown shops and galleries will be open for holiday shopping, with many offering specials and promotions on select items. Volunteers will be on hand offering free gift wrapping between noon and 2 pm at the Dorchester Center for the Arts, 321 High Street. Downtown salons and barber shops will be open for holiday haircuts as well.

Additional family-friendly activities abound in the downtown area:

• The Rescue Fire Company Garden of Trains will be open from 1-4 pm and 6 to 9pm this Saturday. A cherished and longstanding community tradition, the holiday-themed model train display is located in the old firehouse on Gay Street.

• Starting at 2 pm, the Dorchester Center for the Arts will present a staged reading of the play, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” This will be an audience-participation affair, with sing-a-longs and other surprises. The Center is located at 321 High Street. Admission costs $5 for adults and $3 for kids, with refreshments included. Reserve in advance at 410-228-7782.

• Dads and kids can also visit two downtown museums devoted to our local heritage. The Harriet Tubman Museum at 424 Race Street is dedicated to the amazing story of the Dorchester County native who became a heroine of the Underground Railroad, while the Richardson Maritime Museum at 401 High Street focuses on our maritime and boatbuilding heritage.

• Check out the newly opened Rec Center, which offers an indoor inflatable park (for kids 125 pounds and less), as well as arcade games, a ping pong table and other activities. Located at 504 Poplar Street, the Rec Center also serves up pizza, hot dogs, chili and other comfort foods.

• Many downtown galleries and studios show works of interest to kids, including the dramatic underwater photography in the studio of photographers Lynne Brown and Terry Melius, 410 Race Street (second floor), and the vibrant, colorful folk art at the Danny Doughty Gallery, 437 Race Street.

In addition, “SPACE AVAILABLE” is a special limited-time installation at 447 Race Street by artists Mary Ann Schindler and Carol Minarick. The title is a play on the fact that the space where the exhibit is housed is, in fact, available for rent. The artwork focuses on outer space, as in the known and unknown universe. Kids will love the three-foot long kaleidoscope that’s at the center of the exhibit.

• Remember the family pet in this family outing by visiting Pet Threadz at 315 Gay Street. The shop offers clothing and accessories for dogs of all sizes.

Summers encourages everyone in the community to help spread the word about this weekend’s “Dads & Kids Holiday Outing. “Let’s all come out and make some family memories together,” he said. “Best of all, it’s a great way for families here to show support for independent, locally owned businesses in our downtown.”

Up-to-date information on the “Dads & Kids Holiday” outing and other events in downtown Cambridge is available at and