Flowery Branch Christmas Festival and Tree Lighting
When: 2-6 p.m., Dec. 6 (Parade begins at 1:55 p.m.; Christmas tree is lit at 5:55 p.m.)
Where: Downtown Flowery Branch
How much: Free
More info: www.flowerybranchga.org
Christmas is even bigger and better this year, thanks to Flowery Branch and its dedicated elves.
The city’s annual Christmas Festival is set to begin at 2 p.m. Dec. 6, kicking off with the largest Christmas parade to date.
“The Zion Power Dancers will be performing,” event co-organizer Steve Soucie said. “I believe the Flowery Branch High School marching band will perform, hopefully.”
He compared this year’s parade to a “miniature Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade,” complete with stops for musical and dance performances as participants march through the streets of Flowery Branch.
All children are invited to get in on the act, with prizes awarded for the best decorated bicycles, wagons and strollers. And a trophy is sitting in City Hall, waiting to be awarded to the best overall parade float.
The rest of the afternoon is set aside for traditional holiday fun, from a make-your-own-s’mores station to hay rides to getting pictures with Santa in the Historic Train Depot. More than 30 arts and crafts vendors will line Main Street, and of course downtown merchants will have their doors open for some holiday shopping.
The Boy Scouts will also have an area set up as a camp, along with carnival-style games and other rides for children.
The parade kicks off the festivities at 1:55 p.m., with registration for parade participants beginning at 1:30 p.m. The tree lighting production will begin at 5 p.m., with performances by the Zion Power Dancers and Elite Dance Academy, among others. The Christmas tree will be lit at 5:55 p.m.
While Main Street and a certain portion of Railroad Avenue will be closed throughout the day, plenty of parking will be close to the action.
Most of the activities for the day are free, with all proceeds from the event going to Flowery Branch’s Shop with a Cop program, which helps provide Christmas gifts and necessities for needy children in the area.
“Everything is for the kids,” Soucie said. “This thing is near and dear to our hearts.”
For event co-organizers Soucie and Charlotte Cornett, the day is all about bringing the community together.
“Our vision in the beginning was to make this more of a hometown, Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas,” Cornett said. “It has grown that way every year.”
“It’s amazing the support that the city has given us,” Soucie added. “The city has taken ownership of this event, and the downtown merchants have gotten so involved.”
“It’s just bringing everybody together,” Cornett said. “I think we need that right now.”