(Jeremy C. Fox for Boston.com)
Diners and other visitors to Cleary Square got a festive surprise on Friday, as the Hyde Park Main Streets Holiday Carol Pub Crawl made its way down Fairmount Avenue and River Street, visiting a half-dozen restaurants along the way.
More than 30 neighborhood residents turned out for the first-time event, planned as part of the 10-day Destination Hyde Park holiday activities, which run from Nov. 27-Dec. 6.
Patrice Gattozzi, executive director of Hyde Park Main Streets, said the goal is to draw attention to the growing variety of eateries, stores and arts facilities in the neighborhood.
“We said let’s do a week-long series of events to promote local shopping and activities,” Gattozzi said. “Hyde Park Main Streets is trying to promote the business district.”
Donning Santa hats and winter gear, the group left the warmth of Esmeralda's Lounge at the Riverside Theatre Works, where they had warmed up their voices and shared a champagne toast, and headed out into the cold to share their songs.
At the Hyde, the group’s first stop of the evening, proprietor Brian Roskow plied the group with beer-mosas (beer with a dash of orange juice), and caroler Dan Nelson, 49, explained that he had never been caroling before.
“It’s my first time ever, so it’s kind of fun,” Nelson said. “It’s something I was looking forward to.”
Nelson, who has lived in Hyde Park for 10 years, joined the caroling along with several other members of a local social group for gay men, as did John MacDonald, 43, who also heads up the Wakefield-Washington Citizens' Group.
MacDonald has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years, and he said connections he’s made within the community have led him to take part in more local events. “Once you get involved and you make friends here, you want to do more,” he said.
That sense of community is one of the things MacDonald loves about Hyde Park. “It really is a small town within the city,” he said. “You go to the supermarket, you see people you know.”
Elba Huertas, 45, said she came to sing carols because it was a fun way to support local businesses, and she brought her husband along with her, though she didn’t necessarily tell him exactly where they were going.
“My husband had no idea what I was dragging him along for, but I think he’s having fun,” she said.
Juan Huertas, 50, confirmed that he was enjoying himself.
“It’s very festive,” he said. “I love the decorations, and it’s exciting to be singing Christmas carols.”
Is Huertas much of a singer?
“No,” he confessed, “but I love to sing.”
Marianne Cummings, 52, who lives in Milton, was unsuspectingly dining with her family in the Hyde when the carolers arrived.
“We were having dinner, and the carolers came in, and it just made it so festive,” Cumming said. “They were clearly having a really great time.”
Email Jeremy C. Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.