NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The city has plenty of events scheduled downtown to celebrate the holiday season this year, officials said Tuesday.

According to a press release, the holiday celebration is scheduled to begin with the 24th annual Holiday Tree Lighting at Monument Square from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 2.

The event will feature live music performances, a visit from Santa and the annual Hot Pot-Cook Off, highlighting the culinary talents from local restaurants, according to the release.

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Tickets for the cook off are available for $2 each with the proceeds going to benefit Elijah’s Promise.

On Dec. 10, families can get a free photo taken with Santa Claus from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the United Methodist Church of New Brunswick at 323 George Street, the release said.

There will also be free horse drawn carriage rides from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily during the weekend of Dec. 16-18 at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick on Neilson Street.

Residents can still help the less fortunate this holiday season with donations of new and gently used clothes and nonperishable food for the City Market drive now through Dec. 18, according to the release.

Donations will be taken during City market holiday events or can be dropped off at the following locations; Chapati House at 349 George Street, First Reformed Church at 9 Bayard Street, New Brunswick City Market at 109 Church Street, New Brunswick Parking Authority at 106 Somerset Street, George Street Playhouse at 9 Livingston Avenue, investors Bank at 385 George Street, New Brunswick Cultural Center 7 Livingston Avenue and the State Theater at 15 Livingston Avenue, the release said.