Get Ready to Unwrap Sturgeon Bay

Last year’s successful event returns to kick off Christmas by the Bay

While plans for the inaugural Unwrapping Sturgeon Bay event were forming years ago, 2020 seemed like the perfect time to try something new. If it was successful, great – maybe the organizers would bring it back in the future. If it wasn’t, at least folks had something fun to do during the winter of the pandemic.

As it turned out, the event was even more successful than Destination Sturgeon Bay staff could have imagined. 

“We had 50 people say they were coming on Facebook,” said Carly Sarkis, Destination Sturgeon Bay’s marketing and events director, “and then, like, 700 cars showed up.”

Those 700 cars started their lineup at the Door County Co-op’s parking lot and paraded through Sturgeon Bay. This year, the parade will begin Friday, Nov. 19, 6 pm, at Sturgeon Bay’s Sawyer Park, with Santa leading the procession, followed by the Sturgeon Bay Fire Department. As Santa passes, participating businesses will “unwrap” their storefronts, revealing their festive winter holiday decorations. 

Everyone is invited to participate, and Sarkis hopes to see much of the same holiday cheer that she did during the first event.

“Families came with kids in their jammies; it was so cute,” she said. “People wanted it to come back, so now it’s the kickoff for Christmas by the Bay.”

At 8 pm, following the parade, the community is invited to gather at the Door County Community Foundation square for the tree-lighting ceremony. 

Then, it’s on to Saturday, Nov. 20, when the fun continues with a holiday parade throughout downtown Sturgeon Bay at 10 am. Kids can get their photo taken with Santa at the Door County Historical Museum, 11 am – 1 pm, and take your Christmas gift list along because Saturday is the day to shop locally.

If you missed him at the parade, and again at the museum, fear not: You’ll have a chance to have breakfast with Saint Nick on Sunday, 9 am – 11 am, at Stone Harbor.