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HALLiday in the Park moves inside to escape cold
Families turn out for annual Christmas fun
Youngster Clifton Malcolm waits patiently to tell Saint Nick his Christmas wish list at the second annual HALLiday In The Park held Saturday. - photo by Alexander Popp

Saturday, Hall County Parks and Leisure hosted it’s second annual HALLiday In The Park, spreading early Christmas cheer with food, activities and a visit from old Saint Nick.

But this year, due to unusually chilly evening weather, the event abandoned Laurel Park for warmer climes at the North Hall Community Center.

“Last year we held this in the park, and we had a fire pit and decorated the trees. But this year it was just so cold we thought moving it inside would be a good idea,” said event coordinator and Hall County Parks and Leisure representative, Shanda Sexton.

Sexton said the move was made to ensure that families would have a good time throughout the night.   

“This is a fun event where people are relaxed and can come and just enjoy themselves with their family,” she said. “I have kids, and I wouldn’t want them out in this.”

This sentiment was echoed by many families that attended, most saying that they would have otherwise not have come.

“We are here because it’s 30 degrees out!” said Gainesville resident Emily Gillum.

Gillum brought her family to see Santa and to participate in the face painting. She said that she appreciates the events thrown by the county because they get her family out in the community and doing new things.

“This is a fun change of scenery and it gets them off the couch and away from doing iPads,” she said while motioning to her children waiting to get their faces painted.

“It’s so great that we have this.”

The night concluded with a showing of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” projected on a movie theater-sized screen in the gym of the community center.

Food at the event was provided by Wholesome Tasty Food, face painting and hair styling was provided by On the Flesh TAT and Donna’s Wacky Hair & Things.

For information about future events held by Hall County Parks and Leisure, visit them online at

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