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Gainesville’s favorite chicken to light the night as Jingle Mingle returns
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People take photos during the lighting of the chicken at Jingle Mingle in downtown Gainesville on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018. - photo by Austin Steele

Gainesville’s favorite fowl will again gleam from its perch atop Main Street Market next weekend, just in time to signal Christmas is nigh. 

The annual lighting of the 25-foot chicken takes place Saturday, Nov. 20, a spotlight of the Jingle Mingle event, which makes a comeback this year after taking a backseat to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

According to Main Street Gainesville manager Nicole Ricketts, the Main Street program and Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce have delivered holiday cheer for more than 20 years. After last year’s virtual chicken lighting, Ricketts said they are grateful to resume the tradition in person.

“As one of the Southeast’s quirkiest, fun, family-friendly events, this is the perfect way to start your holiday season here in the Poultry Capital of the World,” said Ricketts, whose program is coordinating the event. “Historic Downtown Gainesville is such a treasured part of our city; we hope everyone coming out to enjoy our holiday kickoff also remembers to come back and shop local for their friends and family this season to support our small businesses.”

Between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., the square will bustle with live music, carriage and kiddie train rides and surrounding stores will have open houses. Santa comes to town at 5 p.m. aboard a Gainesville fire engine.

The ceremonial lighting of the chicken commences at 6:30 p.m., preceded by a welcoming address from Mayor Danny Dunagan at 6:15 p.m. and performances by Brenau University vocalist Lainie Ewers and dancers from Elevate Performing Arts Studio.

Those attending may want to come donning their mittens and toboggans, as Ricketts noted all of the festivities will be outdoors, rain or shine.

Street closures will commence on Main Street at 1 p.m., with the roadways surrounding the rest of the square to follow suit at 2 p.m.

In the spirit of supporting small businesses, Main Street Gainesville is also offering Main Street Money — $10 gift certificates that are redeemable at more than 25 downtown businesses. The gift certificates can be purchased at the Gainesville Visitors Center, located at 300 Henry Ward Way. For more information on Main Street Money, visit https://www.gainesville.org/624/Main-Street-Money

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