ESSEX COUNTY AREA, NJ — Essex County residents who are not traveling out of town for the holiday will have plenty of local activities to take part in this weekend. From Small Business Saturday to #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, there are also many opportunities to shop local and give back this weekend in Essex County.

Small business Saturday takes place every year and encourages residents to shop at the small businesses in their town in order to help boost the economy in their town. Many Essex County towns have also begun to prepare for Christmas and will start hosting holiday events this weekend.

Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular in West Orange

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On Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and continuing every weekend in December) from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., residents are invited to Turtle Back Zoo, located at 560 Northfield Ave in West Orange to view the Essex County Holiday Lights Spectacular. More information can be found at essexcountynj.com.

Fall Harvest Campfire at Essex County Environmental Center

On Friday, from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., families are invited to 621-B Eagle Rock Ave in Roseland to celebrate the fall harvest with a campfire event, which includes roasted marshmallows and popcorn and cider. Children must be accompanied by an adult and everyone is encouraged to dress for the weather.

Advanced registration is required; call 973.228.8776. Minimum number of participants required. Fee is $8 per child and $10 per adult.

Restaurant Week in West Orange

Sponsored by the West Orange Downtown Alliance, The West Orange Public Relations Commission and The West Orange Chamber of Commerce restaurant week will take place from Nov. 27 to Dec. 4.

Historical Society: Secret Quilt Code of the Underground Railroad in Livingston

On Tuesday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Livingston Senior/Community Center, Colleen Hintz will be the guest speaker at this Livingston Historical Society meeting. She will discuss the "Secret Quilt Code of the Underground Railroad," a secret code hidden in plain view that ultimately led hundreds of slaves to freedom in Canada.

This is a free event but donations are welcome.

Squirrel and the Bee of Short Hills to Host Giving Tuesday Exhibition to Benefit Greater Newark Conservancy

Greater Newark Conservancy has partnered with Squirrel and the Bee Bake Shop in Short Hills to host a fundraiser and gallery exhibit benefiting the Conservancy’s Newark Youth Leadership Project (NYLP).

To kick off the holiday giving season and celebrate #GivingTuesday, events will be held on Monday and Tuesday at the Squirrel and the Bee located at 515 Millburn Ave in Short Hills.

The #GivingTuesday Kickoff Event on Monday from 5 to 7 p.m. will feature an exclusive Art Exhibition & Reception featuring photographs by local artist, Joanie Schwarz, with images and notes from NYLP interns. On #GivingTuesday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., residents can visit the Squirrel and the Bee and then stop by the Conservancy’s Youth Farmstand and Poinsettia Sale.

Here, locals can also meet interns and Conservancy staff and learn more about programs and how to get involved. Organically managed, healthy produce and poinsettias will be available for purchase.

To RSVP for the event, call Deborah Hurley, the Conservancy’s Director of Advancement & Communications, at 973.642.4646, ext. 17 or via email to Dhurley@citybloom.org. RSVP online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/givingtuesday-2016-tickets-29418361110.

Montclair Ambulance Unit To Take Part in #GivingTuesday

Montclair Ambulance Unit will also participate in #GivingTuesday by asking residents’ assistance in forwarding the mission of Montclair Ambulance Unit.

There are many ways residents can participate, such as making a direct financial donation, purchasing a piece of equipment like a bicycle for the EMS Bike Team, uniforms for our Honor Guard or EMS equipment like an automatic external defibrillator (AED). Individuals can also help spread MAU’s message of emergency preparedness by sponsoring a CPR or First Aid class.

To make a financial donation, visit MVAU.org/GivingTuesday.html. To discuss an equipment donation please call MAU at 973-783-7624 for more information. All donations, including equipment, can be tax deductible.

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe South Orange this weekend  

Ashley Marketplace and Cafe in South Orange is offering a variety of specials this week including: Housemade 6” NY Cheesecake for $18.99; Saint Agur cheese for  $15.99 lb; Lobster Tails Ribs $11.99 each; Total Fage Yogurt 35.3 oz  $6.99; R.W. Knudsen Juice 32floz  $6.49; Eye Round Roast Beef 3.98 lb; Avocado 2/$5.00 and Broccoli $1.99 each.

Ashley Marketplace and Cafe is open 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and will also be open on Thanksgiving Day from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.