As twinkling lights are strung and the scent of pine lingers through the air, the Northeast Georgia community prepares for the Christmas season. Along with the numerous activities planned in the Gainesville area, surrounding cities and towns have their fair share of events planned to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.
Dawsonville plans to hold its annual Christmas parade Dec. 6.
The parade will feature businesses and nonprofits in the area. Decorated go-carts from AMP, floats, bicyclists from Northstar Bicycle, Church Groups, school symphonic band, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and walking groups are scheduled to march in the parade. Santa, of course, will end the event, Dawsonville Director of Operations Brenda Mason said in a press release.
Upon the parade’s conclusion, patrons will gather at City Hall for an awards presentation, tree lighting and general celebration. The floats and other participants will be judged at the historic courthouse by The Grinch, Cindy-Lou Who and the Mayor of Whooville.
Jefferson has opted to celebrate the holidays in another decade. The Crawford W. Long Museum will host photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus and their helpers Dec. 5. The pair will arrive by carriage at 5:30 p.m., and complimentary carriage rides will be offered throughout the evening to attendees.
For those who prefer cozier celebrations, the museum will have a gathering for Poetry and Pajamas the following day from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Kids and parents can snuggle up and snack on warm doughnuts and hot chocolate while listening to a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” performed by Andy Garrison. Admission is $5. Each child will return home with a Christmas craft.
The Habersham County Christmas Parade will arrive in Clarkesville on Dec. 6, lasting from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
The marching band from Habersham Central High School will be in the parade as well as many different floats, antique automobiles, and public safety vehicles.
In addition, Clarkesville will host “A Downtown Clarkesville Christmas,” which will feature the town’s tree lighting and a Christmas light contest, s’mores and hot cocoa with Santa under the gazebo and the Windows at Woods celebration. The entire town will be involved in an Elves on our Shelves Hunt. The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. Dec. 13.
Cornelia will feature two events that include an impressive longevity — the Christmas in Cornelia Holiday Lights Spectacular and Christmas in the Park. The former spans from Thanksgiving Day to New Year’s Day, while the latter lasts from Dec. 17-21.
The Christmas in Cornelia Holiday Lights Spectacular illuminates Cornelia City Park with illustrations of Christmas carols and holiday symbols, such as poinsettias, snowflakes and Saint Nick himself. The lights run every night from 5:30-11 p.m. and admission is free.
Christmas in the Park is distinctive of the light show. Ice skating will return this year for $5 a person (includes skate rental) with hot cocoa and s’mores on sale nearby. The rink is located behind the Cornelia Community House, near the light show.
While driving through the Holiday Lights Spectacular is free, the city will offer $1 per person hay rides.
From Dec. 18-20, the Cornelia Community House will host Elf Workshops and opportunities to meet with Santa. Both events are free, and children will have the chance to create crafts and play games inside of the Workshop.
Toccoa’s annual ChristmasFest will take place from 5-8 p.m. Dec. 5 as carollers amble through the streets and fill the air with songs of Christmas spirit.
A carriage will take families and couples beneath the beautiful lights of the town’s historic district. Adults must pay $3 to ride, while children may get on for only a dollar.
Toccoa will also offer a live nativity in the midst of the celebrations. People may pet the animals and enter the manger to experience what it may have been like on the very first Christmas.
Santa will collecti letters and take pictures with children along Doyle Street. Children also may ride the Santa Express around town.
The Alpine village will host its own Festival of Trees in Unicoi State Park from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 26 through Dec. 12 and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 13. Ornate trees and wreaths are up for bid in the Unicoi Lodge, and the highest bidders will be announced at 2 p.m. Dec. 13. Admission to the event is free, but parking is $5.
This event is the designed to raise money for the United Way of White County, which aims to assist children reach their full potential, promote financial independence, and ensure that the people of White County are in good health.
Helen will also have its Christmas Parade 2-3 p.m. Dec. 6, and feature characters in costumes, local businesses, Santa and an abundance of holiday cheer.
The Blairsville-Union County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor this year’s Tour of Trees in the Union County Community Center. Local businesses decorated more than 30 wreaths and trees for the holiday season, and all of them will be on display from Dec. 1-31 in the Community Center.
The Union County Farmer’s Market will undergo a transformation into the “Kris Kringle Mountain Market,” allowing customers to purchase fresh produce, crafts, handmade gifts and prepared food, as well as roast chestnuts and sing carols around a bonfire.
Santa will be attendance in the children’s area for pictures and to listen for children’s Christmas wishes. The Kris Kringle Mountain Market will be open from 4-8 p.m. Dec. 5 and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 6.
Children will have another opportunity to meet Santa for free in Blairsville’s Old Courthouse from 1-3 p.m. Dec. 6, before the Blairsville Christmas Parade. A photographer will be on site to take pictures of the children on Santa’s lap.
Kids are also invited to the start of the Christmas Parade at 3:45 p.m. with their rendition of “Let It Go” from Disney’s “Frozen.” The singing will continue after the parade with carolling around the town at 5 p.m., with the celebrations ending at the town’s tree lighting at 6 p.m.