112914 horseride3Why go buggy navigating the malls, when you can enjoy Red Bank from an old-fashioned horse and carriage?

As surely as Black Friday nips at the heels of Thanksgiving Thursday, so too does Small Business Saturday get an electrified head start with the first flash of Friday night’s Town Lighting extravaganza in downtown Red Bank.

And when the shop-local showcase promotion returns Saturday, it will herald a day of special holiday-themed features that continue every weekend through December 20 — a slate of Santa sightings, scavenger hunts, horsey rides, harmonizing performers, mobile mannequins and more; all designed to enhance the hustle and bustle of the shopping experience here in the business blocks of the area’s undisputed Capital of Christmastime.

Retail merchants and service businesses all over the borough will be joining in the Small Business Saturday initiative organized by Red Bank Rivercenter, with complimentary Red Bank tote bags available (while supplies last) from Barbizon School models staioned around town — and select stores offering special features, like a noon-to- 6 pm Saturday with Santa Family Holiday Event at Garmany that boasts photo ops.

Beginning Black Friday evening and continuing through Thursday, December 18, Red Bank’s Twelve Days of Christmas Scavenger Hunt invites shoppers to visit more than 40 participating businesses to find an item inspired by “The Twelve Days of Christmas” in their decorated windows. Once you find the item, you can enter to win Red Bank prize packages. Pick up an entry form in any participating location, a complete list of which can be seen right here.

It wouldn’t be a silver-bells Saturday in Red Bank without the annual reappearance of Holiday Harmonies, the open-air smorgasbord of seasonal sounds that finds a panorama of performers (traditional carolers, choirs, brass bands, rock, folk, jazz and blues musicians) delivering holiday tunes in a cold-weather corollary (sponsored by 94.3 The Point) to the summertime StreetLife slate. Enjoy the music from noon to 3 pm on November 28, plus December 5, 12 and 19.

Returning to the borough’s business-district streets (and sponsored by realtor Pauline Poyner), Classic Horse and Carriage Rides operate continuously between 1 to 5 pm each Saturday through December 19. It’s “the only way to travel” (and to keep from going buggy at the mega-malls) here in 2015, with the excursions departing from two locations: the Galleria at Bridge Avenue and West Front Street, and in front of Robinson Ale House at 26 Broad Street.

Keep it at the Galleria every Saturday and Sunday through December 20, for the greater Green’s most popular Pictures with Santa promotion, with photo packages available from TSS Photography and more information available by calling (732) 530-7300.

The students from Barbizon of Red Bank return on Sunday, November 29, for an annual Holiday Mannequins promotion that finds Barbizon’s best live models enhancing the colorful window displays of select downtown merchants, between the hours of 1 to 4 pm.

Don’t forget the annual Menorah Lighting ceremony with music and more at Red Bank’s gingerbread train station at 6 pm on Tuesday, December 8. Then on Thursday, December 10, the whole town joins in a Holiday Open House that promises live music, holiday decorations, open stores, refreshments, sales, specials and more between the hours of 6 to 9 pm.

Take advantage of free downtown parking on November 27 and 28, plus December 12 through 25 (as well as every Sunday throughout the year) — and keep it tuned to GO ON GREEN for a comprehensive rundown of holiday concerts, ballets, plays, parties, gift fairs, tree and menorah lightings and other events, all around the Greater Red Bank Green.