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A rush of Christmas cheer coming down Green Street this Sunday
Gainesville celebration going bigger than ever
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Characters parade along Green Street Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, during the annual Christmas on Green Street parade. - photo by Scott Rogers

A decked-out Christmas on Green Street is coming to Gainesville this weekend, and this year’s event could be the street’s cheeriest ever.

A 40-car parade (plus marching bands, twirlers and — it almost goes without saying — miniature horses), nine food trucks, petting zoos, mariachi bands, dulcimer groups, fudge samples, carriage rides, train rides, choirs, face painting — Christmas on Green Street is going all out this year from the start of the 4:30 p.m. parade to the 7 p.m. Christmas tree lighting.

This Sunday’s event is the first to be organized in part by Main Street Gainesville, the city’s booster organization for the downtown core. Main Street Gainesville has expanded its focus in the past few months from the Gainesville square to the broader downtown and, now, the Green Street corridor.

For years Christmas on Green Street has been organized by members of the Hall County Historical Society. This year, the group and its committees worked with Main Street to get the event rolling.

And the organizers have really crammed in as much Christmas as they could this year: 27 properties along Green Street will have multiple events and attractions through the evening, including many live music acts and events for kids (see again: train and carriage rides, plus face painting and, at The Times, they can drop off their letters to Santa).

Christmas on Green Street

Where: Downtown Gainesville

When: 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 2

How much: Free

More info: Facebook

The parade includes 20 floats, 20 antique cars, the Riverside Military Academy, Atlanta Freedom Band, and Gainesville High School marching bands, and one giant chicken (it’s the city’s float).

If you’re wondering about those miniature horses, Mane Event Equine Therapy is bringing them. A solid slate of costumed performers will roam the streets during Christmas on Green Street. The Times has asked, but as of deadline it wasn’t clear whether Gainesville’s beloved storm troopers will be returning to the event this year.

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"Star Wars" characters entertain parade watchers Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, during the annual Christmas on Green Street parade. - photo by Scott Rogers

Santa, of course, will be bringing up the rear aboard his traditional fire truck.

And dotted up and down Green Street will be 10 food trucks from North Georgia and Atlanta: Cousins Maine Lobster, The Patty Wagon, Habanero Grill, OBA! Brazilian Cuisine, Carnival Food Truck, Big C’s Chicago Kitchen, South of Philly, Southern Crust, Repicci’s Real Italian Ice and Sherry’s Barbecue.

“Let me tell you, these people sold out last year,” said Barbara Cole, who was put to the task of wrangling food trucks for the event. “They sold completely out.”

Along with the food trucks, Mellow Mushroom will be open for dinner on Sunday and The Fudgery will — at long last — be offering samples of the company’s fudge.

And to wrap up the event, the Christmas tree at the corner of Green and Academy streets — or is it E.E. Butler and Academy? — will be set aglow at 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Planning to drive around the city on Sunday? You might want to plan ahead. Here are the streets that are closing from 2:30-7:30 p.m. this Sunday, according to Gainesville spokeswoman Nikki Perry:

  • Thompson Bridge Road from Enota to Green Street.

  • Green Street from Thompson Bridge to E.E. Butler.

  • E.E. Butler from Green Street to Jesse Jewell.

  • Detour from Jesse Jewell: Traffic will remain open on Prior Street to Glenwood Drive (by the Civic Center) to Morningside Drive.

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Green Street fills with parade watchers Sunday, Dec. 3, 2017, during the annual Christmas on Green Street parade. - photo by Scott Rogers
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