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Parade ushers in holiday season
Carolers, Claus draw crowd to Green Street
The Spirit of Jazz from Flowery Branch High School plays on the porch of the Pruitt-Wheeler House. - photo by Tom Reed

Even though temperatures may not indicate the Christmas season is here, the carolers who serenaded the crowd on Green Street and a tree lighting might have done the job.

Many from around the Gainesville community gathered Sunday evening to officially welcome the season with the 12th annual Christmas on Green Street parade and tree lighting.

Amid a warm December evening, Christmas carolers and Santa Claus, who was a part of the parade and stopped at the Norton Agency to hear children’s requests, greeted those along the street.

The businesses and historic homes also opened their doors.

“I think the houses (are) definitely a great experience. It brings the warmth and joy of the Christmas season,” said Joe Dumford, attending for the first time. He brought his four kids to see the parade. He said his children loved the juggler performing on the street.

Warren Bennett, also attending for the first time, brought his 8-year-old niece, Kaitlyn Bennett. He also said it was good to see the homes open to the public.

Some of the homes gave out food, Frisbees and entertainment.

Along with the tree lighting and carolers, there was a parade featuring antique cars and chorus lines, along with Brenau University.

Missy Odom, who also was attending for the first time, came because of her 5-year-old daughter, Remy Odom, and the parade.

“We wanted to bring her to it because it sounded like fun,” said Odom. “It’s enjoyable to see everybody get out and celebrate something nice.”

Some of those involved in the festivities dressed the part, and one of those was Barbara Olsen Smith.

Smith greeted people along the street and in front of the Newcomers Club and Norton Agency. This was her first year at the event. She was amazed at the number of people who came out, but she said she had been waiting to get into the Christmas spirit. After Sunday, she is.

“It was awesome. The amount of people and families that are out here is very impressive. It’s so festive. I’ve been waiting to get into the season and stuff, and having the music at different places and different kinds of music along the way; people are awesome,” said Smith.

She also thought it was a great idea for the homes to allow people to come in and visit.

“These houses are beautiful. You drive by and you see them all lit up at night, and you wonder ‘Oh my gosh. What it’s like to be in there?’” she said.

Smith also took picture, and she said that was her favorite part of the evening.

“It started with a few (pictures), and it’s like ‘Oh, that’s cute, that’s cute’. I know it’s because of the Christmas (outfit). Because of this Christmas (outfit), everyone’s wanting to take pictures of it. It’s pretty cute,” she said.

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