Imagine the fun and excitement of literary favorites Han­sel and Gretel as they came upon a beautiful, life-sized gin­gerbread house in the woods.

Now you and your family can enjoy a similar experience this holiday season at the Hyannis Art Shan­ties. The Shanties are can­dy-colored, tiny houses that dot the boardwalk of the Hyannis Harbor Over­look, located at 51 Ocean St. in Hyannis.

Built in 2005, The Hy­an­nis HyArt Shanties and boardwalk was created by the Town of Barnstable to serve as affordable studio and gallery space for lo­cal artists and artisans.

In its first season, 11 artists participated in this program. Now part of the Hyannis HyArts Cultural District, currently over 95 artists participate in this unique program.

Shanty open season is typically spring through mid-fall, but in late No­vem­ber the summer shan­ties are re-opened when they magically transform into deliciously whimsical gingerbread houses to create “Gingerbread Lane at Harbor Overlook.”

This holiday market is filled with regional artists and artisans as well as seasonal treats, but like the holiday season itself, is only here for a limited time. The market will be open starting on Nov. 29 and 30.

Then, on Dec. 7, Ginger­bread Lane, in conjunction with The Downtown Hyannis Main Street Holi­day Stroll, celebrates an all day family fun event.

On Saturday, Dec. 7, start the celebration off with Breakfast with Santa at the British Beer Com­pany, located at 412 Main St. in Hyannis. Tickets are $10 and include a full breakfast menu, a visit with Santa, and entertainment by the Cape Cod Carolers. There will be a 9 a.m. seating and 10:30 a.m. seating. Tickets are available at Hyannis.com or the Hyannis Chamber of Commerce.

After breakfast, take a stroll down Main Street where many family fun activities will be happening from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vote for your favorite coo­kie at the annual Cookie Stroll Contest, or take part in the Reindeer Round­up scavenger hunt to find all of Santa’s hidden reindeer. Shop to the sounds of carolers and various musicians playing throughout Main Street.

Be sure to keep an eye out for Santa as he makes his way down Main Street in an antique fire truck!

From noon to 6 p.m., shop for beautifully handmade items and artwork at the Holiday Artist Mar­ket on “Gingerbread Lane.” Each brightly decorated “gingerbread” shan­ty hou­ses a different type of local art. There will al­so be free children's craft projects on hand to make while listening to holiday carolers. Food and beverages will also be available to purchase at the market.

After shopping, stroll over to nearby Hyannis Harbor from 4 to 5:30 p.m. for the Hyannis Harbor Boat Parade. Wait for ar­rival of Santa while sampling chowder, hot chocolate, coffee and cookies. There will also be live music and children’s activities to participate in while you wait for the Boat Pa­rade to begin.

The Boat procession starts at about 4:45 p.m., when decorated boats light the way for the ar­rival of Santa on a Police boat. At 5 p.m., Santa’s boat will dock, and he will proceed to his special North Pole Shanty to meet and greet children of all ages.

There is plenty of free parking available at the Town Hall Parking Lot on Main Street and South Street. Also on South Street is the Red Cross Parking Lot, and two hour street parking is available on Main Street.

Christmas is right around the corner. Why not skip the generic gifts from the mall this year and instead try hand made, one of a kind items. They might just be the perfect gifts to check off your list. Enjoy a day of holiday, family fun and support members of the Cape Cod art community by taking a sweet stroll down Gingerbread Lane.

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