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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

City Paints the Town Red and Green

Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov’s plans for the New Year and Orthodox Christmas celebrations promise to rival those of years past, with glitzy outdoor concerts, fireworks and fairs.

The festivities kick off in time for those who celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25 with the welcoming Saturday of Ded Moroz (Russia’s Santa Claus). He is flying to Moscow with his assistant, Snegurochka, or the Snow Maiden, from the northern Vologda region town of Veliky Ustyug. Since 1997, Veliky Ustyug has been their official hometown.

Luzhkov and other top city officials will attend a welcoming ceremony at 10 a.m. in front of City Hall on Tverskaya Ulitsa.

Ded Moroz will then be joined by dozens of other Grandfather Frosts for a parade down Tverskaya Ulitsa.

Ded Moroz plans to stop by Red Square at 5 p.m. to cut the ribbon of a new temporary ice rink that will be open to the public from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. through Jan. 13.

Later Ded Moroz and Snegurochka will open the first yolka, a traditional New Year’s fairy-tale performance for children, at the Kremlin Palace. Saturday’s ceremony will be capped off with fireworks.

The stretch of Tverskaya Ulitsa from Okhotny Ryad to Pushkin Square will be closed from 10 a.m. until mid-afternoon, said a spokesman for the city traffic police.

Red Square, as in past years, will become the site of the city’s main New Year’s festivities. A monstrous 25-meter artificial New Year’s tree has already been erected on a podium beside the Historical Museum.

Red Square will host a traditional Russian-style street fair until Jan. 12. A row of wooden kiosks forming the shape of an old house will sell bliny, vodka, hot dogs and souvenirs.

Huge television screens are being hung from the side of the GUM department store overlooking Red Square to broadcast the presidential New Year’s address just minutes before midnight on Dec. 31. New Year’s television shows will also be shown.

A concert will be held on Red Square at 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve. A grandiose fireworks display will begin at the stroke of midnight.

In addition to the festivities on the streets, the Mayor’s Office plans a number of indoor performances for children, including charitable shows at the Mayor’s Office on Novy Arbat and special New Year’s performances at the Circus on Tsvetnoi Bulvar.

City Hall has put up 300 New Year’s trees in Moscow. Sixty more free-standing New Year’s decorations have been placed around the capital, including a towering five-meter Ded Moroz placed on Teatralnaya Ploshchad opposite the Bolshoi Theater and another one on Manezh Square.

The festivities on the streets will run through Russian Orthodox Christmas on Dec. 7 and wrap up Jan. 12.

And just when the holidays seem over, it will be time for Old New Year’s Eve on Jan. 13.