By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Chteau lan gets into the holiday spirit
Venue hosts annual lighting
Sanaya Cody, 6, of Peachtree City brushes a Scottish highlander cow Friday as part of the festivities at the annual lighting of Château Élan in Braselton. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

To say that Sara-Beth Chaney was happy to be at Château Élan on Friday is possibly the understatement of the year.

"Santa!" the 2-year-old yelled excitedly when she spied him sitting in a chair at the winery.

"She was a Christmas baby, so it's not surprising that she loves Santa and presents," said Beth-Ann Chaney, a Gwinnett County resident and mother of the toddler. "I think her first word might've been Santa."

Sara-Beth and dozens of other children were gathered at the Braselton venue just off Interstate 85 at Exit 126 for the annual lighting of the château. In addition to face time with the jolly one himself, the kids also had the opportunity to take train rides, have their faces painted and even enjoy a magic show while waiting for the sun to set and the holiday lights on the winery to be turned on.

"I rode the pony," said Christian Carter, a 7-year-old Hoschton resident. "It was better than the ones at the mall because this one was real."

While most of the children's activities were set up on the lawn, inside was where the adults had their fun.

There were wine tours and tastings and even a demonstration in the culinary studio. During the demonstration, a Château Élan chef showed participants how to turn Thanksgiving leftovers into a tasty turkey pot pie.

"We've been wanting to do a wine tasting for a while, so this was a fun way of sampling different things," said Dawn Smallwood of Oakwood. "And it was only $5 - that's my kind of Black Friday deal."

Although most of the kids in attendance were antsy with anticipation for the moment the château would be all lit up with sparkling, white lights - and the subsequent fireworks display - some of the adults were just as giddy.

"When our kids were small, we would bundle them up and drive them around to see the Christmas lights," said George Mills, a Buford resident. "They're all grown up now, so it's just me and my wife - but we still get a kick out of seeing the lights."