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Motorcyclists boost Secret Santa; parade winds through Christmas on Green Street
The Grinch and his dog showed up for the parade of antique cars Sunday evening at the beginning of the Christmas on Green Street event. - photo by Tom Reed

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Gainesville was treated Sunday to two holiday parades, both featuring police escorts, dozens of vehicles and bone-chilling temperatures.

The first, a group of motorcyclists, traveled from Frazier’s Harley-Davidson on Friendship Road in South Hall to the Chattahoochee Baptist Association’s headquarters on McEver Road in Gainesville.

They were on a mission — to deliver a trailer full of presents, including bicycles, as part of the association’s Secret Santa program.

Mike Walston, the director of church and community ministries at the association, waved them into the parking lot, a big grin on his face.

And later, after the 125 or so cyclists had parked their vehicles and were savoring some coffee and pastries, he addressed the group, thanking them for their efforts.

"God bless y’all and the Fraziers for organizing this for us," Walston said. "And we know that you’re going to do it again next year."

Ralph Frazier, one of the business’ owners, said the event had marked its 15th year.

"It seems to get a little bigger every year, depending on the weather," he said. "We want to help the kids try to have a better Christmas."

Joyce Patrick, co-chairwoman of the Secret Santa effort, said the association has "interviewed the people who will come and pick up toys, and the parents and guardians will come to the association office and will get to pick out two gifts for each child."

The association will end up giving gifts to about 1,100 children.

"Probably, we could have helped a lot more," Patrick said. "But we feel like that’s all we could help."

Later in the day, antique cars and other vehicles, including one featuring Santa Claus, crawled down Green Street, with drivers blowing their horns and throwing candy and waving at parade-watchers who had arrived for "Christmas on Green Street."

The Hall County Historical Society sponsors the annual event to show off Green Street’s historic homes decked out in holiday lights and greenery.

The event also featured musicians, including choirs and bands, storytellers, carriage rides and people dressed in period costume. It ended with the lighting of a Christmas tree in front of Hall Community Bank at 311 Green St.

One of those dressed in Victorian garb was Linda Harris of Gainesville.

"I love learning about the different houses," she said, adding that she particularly enjoys learning about Gainesville lore from people she meets.

Kim Braff of Gainesville brought her niece, 8-year-old Grace Brown, and nephew, 11-year-old Davis Brown, to the parade.

"We come every year. This is one of our holiday traditions," Braff said.