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Green Street closed for event
Christmas parade kicks off Sunday in downtown Gainesville
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Christmas on Green Street

What: Parade, tree lighting, artist show, music, children's activities and open houses
When: 5-7:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: Green Street, Gainesville
How much: Free; carriage rides for $2 per person or $10 per family
More info:

Drivers passing through Gainesville this weekend should note a new route as roads close for Sunday's Christmas on Green Street event.

Officials will close Green Street between West Academy Street and Enota Avenue for the parade, carriage rides and various activities between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

Barricades and cones will be set up at the intersection of Thompson Bridge Road and Enota Avenue on the north end of Green Street and at West Academy on the south. Police officers will direct traffic along South Enota Drive until it connects to Jesse Jewell Parkway.

Officials will block all entrances and exits onto Green Street along Forrest, North and Ridgewood avenues and Holly Drive, and incoming traffic will be stopped at Riverside Drive and Enota and at the intersection of Park Hill and Morningside drives.

"At the E.E. Butler Parkway and Jesse Jewell intersection, we'll place a large sign that says the street will close, and we'll close off the east and west turn lanes from Jesse Jewell there," said David Heaton, Gainesville's street superintendent in the public works department. "We'll close all the major arteries coming in and all the side streets on Green Street that go north of the post office."

Heaton doesn't foresee any major traffic problems once barricades are in place.

"Last year was the first year we completely closed Green Street, and it worked better than in previous years," Heaton said. "It was more controlled and safer for everybody. Drivers just need to understand that there will be no entrance onto Green Street from the outer perimeters during that time, and participants should arrive before 4 p.m."

From 5 to 7:30 p.m., the Hall County Historical Society will host the annual Christmas on Green Street, which will kick off with a parade from the Gainesville Civic Center to the Rotary Club Christmas Tree and back to the Civic Center.

After the parade, docents dressed in Victorian costumes will share the history of each of the Green Street homes, eight of which will be open to the public.

Other festivities include ornament-making and train rides for children, several school bands and choruses and local artists.

The entire event is free, except for the carriage rides, which cost $2 per person or $10 per family for more than five members. The rides start at the post office on Green Street.

A police command station will be stationed at the post office, and fire department officials will offer first aid services.

"We'll have officers out on foot and bicycles, and our main advice is to watch out for the road closings," said officer Kevin Holbrook. "Even after the streets open back up, people will be walking around on Green Street, so obey the speed limit and watch out for children as people are out and about."