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Parades usher in holidays all across Northeast Georgia
Owen and Olivia Lester, 3-year-old twins, talk to Santa during Mingle with Kringle last year at Main Street Market in Gainesville. The annual event will begin Saturday, Dec. 3

Treat your pooch to a costume contest

Instead of picking out a red or green sweater to don for your Christmas photos with your pet, put your canine in his or her holiday finery for a parade.

The ninth annual Reindog Parade will be at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1345 Piedmont Ave. NE, Atlanta.

During the competition, pups in Christmas attire will parade across a stage to compete for prizes. Categories include best puppy, best adult, best botanical, best dog-owner dress-alike, best dog pack and best in show.

Emceeing the contest will be Atlanta resident Victoria Stilwell, host of the Animal Planet TV show “It’s Me or the Dog.” Atlanta TV and radio personality Holly Firfer will assist.

Dog owners are encouraged to preregister at Registrations costs, in addition to Garden admission, is $15 per dog, or $18 at the door. Owners are limited to two dogs. 

For more information, visit

From traditional pictures with Santa to unconventional events such as 5Ks and live nativities, there is no shortage of ways to get into the holiday spirit this year.

Here’s a list of the area holiday parades, festivals and celebrations:




Mingle with Kringle

Bring the kids to have their pictures taken with Santa Claus at the Main Street Market in downtown Gainesville. This free event runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Saturday in December

For more information, call 678-776-1346.

Festival of the Nativity

See Nativity scenes from around the world at the Festival of the Nativity. This free event will be from 6-9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3-9 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1-4, at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1234 Riverside Drive, in Gainesville. Live music will accompany the display.

For more information, call 770-561-1199.

Handcrafted for the Holidays

Find unique holiday gifts and handmade crafts from local artists at the Quinlan Visual Arts Center’s Handcrafted for the Holidays event. Shop for handcrafted pottery, woodworking and jewelry from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, and 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4, in conjunction with Christmas on Green. Free gift bags will be available.

For more information, call 770-536-2575.

Festival of Trees gala 

The annual charity auction to support Challenged Child and Friends will be Saturday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. at the Loft at Scott’s. Guests have the opportunity to bid on wreaths and trees decorated by community members as well as other prizes. All proceeds benefit Challenged Child, a nonprofit supporting education for children with special needs. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online at Sponsorship options are available.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 770- 535-8372.

Love Lights tree lighting at NGMC

Presented by the Medical Center Auxiliary, the Love Light Tree Lighting Ceremony recognizes donations to Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Two ceremonies will be conducted at the Medical Center Auxiliary Lovelight Gardens: one at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, at NGMC Braselton, 1400 River Place, Braselton; and one at 7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 5, at NGMC Gainesville, 743 Spring St. NE. Donations and information can be found at

Breakfast with Santa at Gainesville Civic Center

Breakfast with Santa, sponsored by The Gainesville Phoenix Women’s Club, will be from 8-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Gainesville Civic Center ballroom, 830 Green St. Tickets are $5 and proceeds benefit the community.

To purchase tickets, email

Flapjack Fundraiser with Santa

To support the Relay for Life of Hall County, Applebee’s is hosting a pancake breakfast with Santa from 8-10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at 1705 Browns Bridge Road in Gainesville. Tickets are $7.

For more information, call 770-297-1220.

Gainesville Charity Ball via Junior League

The Junior League of Gainesville-Hall County will host its 65th annual Charity Ball at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Chattahoochee Country Club, 3000 Club Drive, Gainesville. One of seven Hall County high school students representing local charities will be crowned belle of the ball. This year’s theme is Fire and Ice, featuring music from Georgia band All In One. Tickets are $150 per couple or  $75 individual,  21 years old and older.

Purchase tickets at

Frontier Christmas at Northeast Georgia History Center

Step back in time for a frontier-era Christmas celebration at the Northeast Georgia History Center,  322 Academy St. NE, Gainesville, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11. This free, family-friendly event features living history performances, carols, crafts, photos with Santa and refreshments. Decorate a frontier-inspired Christmas ornament to take home or hang on the history center tree.

For more information, call 770-297-5900.



Magical Lights Tour at Lanier Islands

The Magical Nights Tour returns to Lake Lanier and will run from 5-10 p.m. through Jan. 3. Drive through the twinkling light displays, see the live Nativity scene and visit the Holiday Village for food and amusement rides. Admission is $45 per car or $36 in advance online. Lake Lanier Islands Resort, 7000 Lake Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford.

For more information, visit

Buford Business Alliance Holiday Festival & Parade

Presented by The Buford Business Alliance, the 2016 Holiday Festival and Parade will be from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The festival will be on Main Street in downtown Buford and feature performances from 12:30-4 p.m. Holiday gift bags including coupons and free items will be distributed at the event.

For more information, visit



Clermont Christmas Parade

The Clermont Christmas parade and tree lighting ceremony begins at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, at Clay E. Gailey park at  122 Dean St., Clermont. Free hot chocolate and refreshments will be available.

For more information, visit

Clermont Christmas Town and Country Tour

Tour the historic homes of Clermont will be from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3. The tour includes carriage rides, a light dinner and a live nativity. Check in at the Clermont Venue, 101 Dean St., Clermont. Tickets are $20 pre-order, $24 at the door, $15 for students and 5 and younger are free.

Tickets available at Clermont Town Hall or via phone at 770-983-7568.



Flowery Branch Tree Lighting and Rock ‘n’ Stroll parade

The seventh annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Roll ’n’ Stroll Parade in downtown Flowery Branch will feature the Jingle Jog Fun Run, booths from local vendors and an appearance by Santa Claus. This free event begins at noon Saturday, Dec. 3, on Main Street. Santa photos will be available at the Depot until 6 p.m. For more information, visit



Christmas in the Park

Celebrate Christmas in the Park at 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in Veteran’s Park in Lula. The free festival will include refreshments and activities along with a parade at 6 p.m.

For more information, visit



City of Oakwood Christmas celebration

The annual Oakwood Christmas Celebration is from 5-9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9, at Oakwood City Park, 4035 Walnut St., Oakwood. The free event features live music, food and pictures with Santa.

For more information, call 770-534-2365.




Dawsonville Christmas Parade

The Christmas Parade will be a fun filled afternoon followed by the annual tree lighting ceremony at city hall. Other activities include music, dancing and pictures with Santa. If you are interested in having a float or group in the parade, contact Dawson County Chamber of Commerce for an application. It is free to be in the parade, but costs $20 to be judged for awards.

For more information, visit




Breakfast with Santa

Kids can wear their pajamas to enjoy pancakes, crafts and storytime with Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Hoschton Train Depot, 4219 Ga. 53, on Saturday, Dec. 17. Tickets are on sale at Hoschton City Hall for $5 per child (children younger than 1 are free).

For more information, email



Jefferson Christmas Parade

The annual Jefferson Christmas Parade will be from 3-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in downtown Jefferson. The free family-friendly event will include floats, concessions, dance performances and llamas. Free parking is on site.

For more information, call 706-367-5714.

Christmas at Heritage Village at Hurricane Shoals Park

Celebrate Christmas at Heritage Village at Hurricane Shoals Park, from 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at 416 Hurricane Shoals Road, Maysville. Tour the village and explore what Christmas would have been like in historic Jackson County. Activities include cookie decorating, hayrides and a bonfire.

For more information, visit

Christmas Cottage in Jefferson

Visit Santa and Mrs. Claus at home at the Christmas Cottage at the Galilee Christian Church from 4 -8 p.m. starting Nov. 26, in Jefferson. Admission is free but donations to the Jefferson Food Bank are requested. Photos with Santa are $5. Pets welcome.

For more information, call 706 367-2049.



Christmas at Heritage Village at Hurricane Shoals Park

Celebrate Christmas at Heritage Village at Hurricane Shoals Park in Maysville from 6-9 p.m.  Saturday, Dec. 10. Tour the village and explore what Christmas would have been like in historic Jackson County. Activities include cookie decorating, hayrides and a bonfire.

For more information, visit




Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas

Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas is a monthlong celebration from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, beginning with the Lighting of the Square. A hometown parade officially brings Santa to town on the first Saturday in December. Other holiday events continue almost daily throughout December until after New Year’s with caroling, entertainment wine sampling and live theater Christmas events.

For more information, call the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Visitors Center at 706-864-3711 or visit




Christmas in the Mountains Celebration & Lighted Parade

The Christmas in the Mountains Celebration begins at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Cleveland courthouse square. The free event features a holiday market, a tree-lighting ceremony and musical performances. All elements lead up to the annual lighted parade through downtown.

For more information, call 706-865-5356.

Winter wonderland and wolf encounter at North Georgia Zoo

Get up close and personal with wildlife this winter by scheduling a Winter Wonderland Tour of the North Georgia Zoo, 2912 Paradise Valley Road, Cleveland. Guided tours last approximately 2 ½ hours and includes the chance to interact with exotic animals and learn how they adapt to colder weather. Tours are available from 1-3 p.m. Saturdays from December through February. Reservations are required. Tickets are $35 for adults and $32 for children ages 2-11.

For more information, visit or call 706-348-7279.



Helen Christmas Parade

Santa and his elves will be on hand for the annual Helen Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 10. The parade begins at 2 p.m. on Main Street in downtown Helen. This free event is pet-friendly. For more information, call 706-878-2181.

Mistletoe Market and Gallery Open House

The second annual Mistletoe Market and Gallery Open House will be Friday, Nov. 25; Saturday, Nov. 26; and Sunday, Nov. 27, at 25 Chattahoochee Strasse in Helen. The indoor marketplace will be filled with art and fine craft pieces available for purchase.

Admission is free. Hours are noon to 6 p.m. each day.

For more information, visit

Dropping of the Edelweiss

Ring in the New Year with the annual Dropping of the Edelweiss in Helen. Raise a toast to 2017 with music, dancing and food at the Helen Festhalle, 1074 Edelweiss Strasse, starting at 8 p.m. Dec. 31. Admission is $15 for adults, $7.50 for children 6-12 and free for children younger than 6. It includes light hors d’oeuvres, party favors and midnight champagne toast.

For more information, call 706-878-1908.




Habersham County Christmas Light Parade

The city of Baldwin is hosting the Habersham County Christmas Light Parade at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, with a rain date of Dec. 10. City residents will also see the return of the Christmas Village in Mitchell Gailey Park prior to the parade. It will feature crafts, food, games and entertainment, plus pictures with Santa. After the parade, the city will hold its annual Christmas tree lighting.

To be a vendor or parade entry, call 706-778-6341 or email



A Downtown Clarkesville Christmas

Lighting of the tree, photos with Santa, s’mores, caroling and live entertainment such as Windows at Woods theatrical performance will take place from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 10, in downtown Clarkesville.

For more information, visit



Christmas in Cornelia

Go on hayride through the lights, roll around on the ice skating rink, sing or listen to the carolers, snack on some s’mores, dance at the party and visit with Santa at the annual event. Christmas in Cornelia will be from 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, to 10 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, at Cornelia City Park off Wyly Street.

For more information, call 706-778-8585.