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Christmas returns to Gainesville with annual Green Street parade
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The East Hall High marching band performs Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, during the annual Christmas on Green Street parade. - photo by Scott Rogers
Christmas on Green Street Timeline of Events

2 p.m. Roads close, “Elf” movie at Civic Center

3 p.m. Food truck court opens at 311 Green St.

4 p.m. Parade begins

5:15-6:45 p.m. Open houses, carriage and train rides

6:45 p.m. Rotary Tree lighting ceremony

7 p.m. Event ends

8 p.m. Roads reopen

Holiday cheer is coming back to historic Green Street in Gainesville.

Green Street will be closing down on Sunday, Dec. 5 to make way for floats, musical performances and Santa’s sleigh, marking the return of the annual Christmas on Green Street parade. The parade will begin at 4 p.m. near the First Baptist Church.

The COVID-19 pandemic put the brakes on the parade last year, introducing a “Light up the Town” mini-parade which went past Gainesville’s most illuminated home on Green Street Circle.

“It’s such a blessing to have our outdoor holiday events back on the calendar this year,” said Main Street Manager Nicole Ricketts. “We’re overjoyed to have a sense of community spirit as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas together in this favorite Gainesville tradition.”

This year’s parade features festive floats, antique cars and musical performances. There are currently 50 different entries in the parade, including high school marching bands, Jackson EMC, American Cancer Society, Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and Interactive Neighborhood for Kids.

“This year, we’re featuring a bicentennial theme in honor of Gainesville’s 200th birthday, Nov. 30,” Ricketts said. “We hope to see some creative float representations from Gainesville’s history.”

As usual, Santa Claus will glide down Green Street on a bright red fire engine to close out the parade.

Prizes will be awarded to the best parade float, best bicentennial theme, most creative, and most decorated floats and antique cars.

Strolling magicians, face painters, balloon artists, storytellers, jugglers, miniature train rides and carriage rides will also be around the area.

Different houses along Green Street will be open during and after the parade with food, drinks, entertainment and meet-and-greets with classic Christmas characters. Some of the historic homes include Hasty Pope Davies LLP, Strong Gaddy Lee Wealth Management and Whitmer and Law.     

The Times will have a free publication with history and photos of some of the homes. It will be available outside the office at 345 Green St. during the event.

First Baptist Church, located at 751 Green St, Gainesville, will be handing out hot chocolate and cookies on their front porch from 4:30-6 p.m. for those watching the parade.

The night will end at the intersection of Green and West Academy streets with the traditional lighting of the Rotary Tree ceremony starting at 6:45 p.m., marking the start of the holiday season in Gainesville.

Before the parade, families can enjoy a Christmas movie showing, hot chocolate and cookies in the ballroom of the Gainesville Civic Center at 2 p.m. 

A food truck court will be open to the public from 3-7 p.m. in the parking lot by 311 Green St. 

Many businesses on Green Street and the downtown square expect to be bustling throughout the parade according to MacKenzie Conner, an employee at Inman Perk Coffee. The coffee shop has doubled its staff and lined up some festive drinks to help customers battle the cold on Dec. 5. 

For more information and updates on the parade, visit facebook.com/DowntownGainesville.

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