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Dahlonega is no sleepy town at Christmastime
An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Dahlonega features tons of events, decorations and smiling faces.

Peace on Earth

What: Shops serve appetizers, desserts and coffee; everyone can join in singing at 7 p.m.
When: 5-8 p.m. Sunday
Where: Intersection of Ga. 60, 9 and 52 in Lumpkin County
How much: Donate nonperishable food items to the Community Helping Place
More info: 706-864-5991 or Old-Fashioned Christmas events guide

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Visit Sautee

Christmas in Dahlonega is like a step back in time into a bustling, cheery Christmas village.

Lights and greenery cover the downtown square, and tourists and local residents alike enjoy activities like the lighting of the square, visiting Santa and watching the Christmas parade.

"The entire downtown transforms into a little Christmas wonderland," said Amy Strickland, owner of Hummingbird Lane art gallery and president-elect of the Dahlonega Merchants Association. "... All the lights at night are just unbelievable; they go all up in the trees and everything just looks so pretty."

Whether it's the influence of the cheery decorations or just good ol' holiday spirit, smiles seem contagious at Christmastime.

Michael Matteson, information specialist with the visitors center, said the people and smiling faces are what make Christmas special.

Smiles certainly go around at The Fudge Factory on the square, which makes peppermint crunch fudge and cinnamon divinity just for the holidays.

"Our shop in particular just seems to make people happy," owner Tony Owens said.

This small town stays busy through the holidays. Old-Fashioned Christmas events begin with the lighting of the square after Thanksgiving and continue all month long.

"One of my favorites is just the lighting of the square," Owens said. "... Lots of families come up to the square and all hang out and sing carols. And then the square's lit."

The Holly Theatre puts on a holiday show; this year it's a musical, "The 1940's Radio Hour." Remaining showings are at 8 p.m. today through Saturday. Throughout the season, many shops feature musicians, storytellers and provide appetizers.

The first Peace on Earth event will be held Sunday celebrating the 50th anniversary of the peace sign, along with the peace on earth spirit of the holidays. Shops around the square will be serving appetizers, desserts and coffee, and at 7 p.m. there will be a singing of "Peace on Earth" and "Silent Night."

So many events and such hustle and bustle doesn't seem to detract from this town's Christmas spirit.

"To me I just feel like Dahlonega's Christmas is very Americana," Owens said. "You get warm fuzzies. It reminds you of a past day.

"It's a very, almost Norman Rockwell-type atmosphere."

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