ASL Santa and his helper

Downbeach Small Business Saturday events offer jam-packed day of family fun, including ASL Santa and Cookie Crawl

Ventnor and Margate are celebrating the opening of the holiday shopping season on Small Business Saturday, a shopping experience started by American Express to encourage shoppers to patronize local businesses. Due to the forecast of rain, there are some changes to the previously announced schedule of events in Margate.

Business organizations in Ventnor and Margate have been working for weeks to promote shopping at small businesses this weekend to help the local economy, offer shoppers great buys and some family fun. Family-friendly activities planned in Margate and Ventnor include shopping discounts, sidewalk sales and giveaways.

To bring joy to the hearing impaired, an American Sign Language Santa will ride down Ventnor Avenue from Margate City Firehouse No. 1 on Washington Avenue aboard a 5-ton truck. Santa is scheduled to arrive at Bocca Coal Fire Bistro at noon Saturday, Nov. 24.

“Last year, I personally witnessed a child’s eyes light up with a huge smile when she realized that she could communicate directly with Santa,” Margate Business Association Executive Director Anna Maria Blescia said. “Santa’s are everywhere but an ASL Santa is unique, special and very important for the hearing impaired.”

Families can meet the Phillie Phanatic, enjoy free pizza and face painting at Bocca. However, the amusements planned at the Essex Ave location are cancelled due to the weather.

The Stuff the Police Cruiser event originally slated to be held 6-9 p.m. at the Sigmund Rimm ball fields will be held indoors. All evening Stuff the Police  Cruiser activities, except for the train rides and tree lighting, will go on as planned at Margate Municipal Building, 9001 Winchester Ave.

The fourth annual Stuff the Police Cruiser Holiday Toy Drive will be held 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24 at the Margate Municipal Building multi-purpose room, 9001 Winchester Ave., Margate.

Bring your donations of unwrapped toys and canned goods to the multi-purpose room for distribution to children in need in Atlantic County. Sponsors and participants include the Atlantic County Toys for Kids Program, Margate Business Association, Ventnor Business Association, Ventnor, Margate, Longport Police and Fire Departments, PBAs, FBMA, Bocca Coal Fired Pizza, Colmar Home Center, 95.1 WAYV and 100.7 WZXL.

From 6-9 p.m., families can enjoy refreshments, pictures with Santa by Erin McDevitt, music by DJ Billy B, Santa letters, sand art and magic reindeer food. Also, face painting by Seaburns Art, story time with Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman movie.

In Ventnor, Small Business Weekend starts with a Cookie Crawl at businesses across the city. The Cookie Crawl starts at 10 a.m. at Farley and Ferry Realty, where you can pick up a cookie tin. Then, take your sweet tooth to several stops leading to No. 7311 bake shop. Cookies will be available, one per person at each location, until 2 p.m.

Participating businesses include:

  • Farley & Ferry Realty Inc., 5215 Atlantic Ave.
  • Heart Revolution Yoga & Local Artisan Boutique, 5211 Atlantic Ave.
  • Design Nation, 5209 Atlantic Ave.
  • Krimpers Family Styling Salon, 6401 Ventnor Ave.
  • Enlightened Cafe, 6414 Ventnor Ave.
  • Sea La Vie, 6616 Ventnor Ave.
  • No.7311, 7311 Ventnor Ave.

For more information, see margatehasmore.com or vbanj.com.