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Gainesville kick-starts holiday season with parade
Christmas on Green Street event concluded with lighting of tree
Alex Shows, 10, sports a blinking reindeer nose Sunday during the annual Christmas on Green Street event in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Green Street was aglow with luminaries lining the sidewalks in front of the historic houses.

Adults and children set up chairs along the walkway to watch the antique auto parade, the kickoff to this year's Christmas on Green Street celebration.

Santa Claus also stopped by the parade, eager to hear the wishes of the boys and girls of the Gainesville community.

The occupants of Green Street welcomed the revelers into their homes and businesses, each decorated with garland and lights. Members of the Gainesville Newcomers' Club stood at each house, dressed in period clothing, and shared the history of the buildings with passersby.

For Deb Parrish, this was her first time participating in Christmas on Green Street. Her costume came from both her own wardrobe and the Newcomers' Club.

"The ladies in the Gainesville Newcomers' Club have an incredible stash of Victorian costumes," Parrish said. "They could rent them out for the local plays."

Mary Willingham, also newly arrived in Gainesville, was delighted by the festivities. Stationed in front of her favorite home and adorned with a handmade hat, Willingham could only describe the atmosphere as home.

"We've only been here for two years, but shutting off the street and the little kids running around in the road makes it really feel like a home," Willingham said.

In addition to the home and business tours, the celebration also offered carriage and train rides, live music from local school choirs and a mariachi band, a magician and face-painting.

The Quinlan Visual Arts Center showed off several arts and crafts projects.

Amanda McClure, the Quinlan's executive director, estimated over 100 participants for the Holiday Craft Party.

Fox Gradin, a six-year veteran of Christmas on Green Street, organized several kid-friendly crafts, including two ornaments, sand art, scratch art ornaments, and a pinecone candle holder.

"I really like the energy that's created when children are doing crafts, especially around the holiday season," Gradin said.

The Quinlan was filled with happy chatter as children colored and glued their projects.

Ciara Cieslukoski thinks the arts and crafts at the Quinlan are second only to meeting Santa Claus.

The lighting of the giant tree concluded the festivities, but ushered in the official beginning of the Christmas season for Gainesville.