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Columbia County kicks off holiday festivities

Parades, tree lightings, festivals set for this weekend

Posted: November 30, 2017 - 4:03pm  |  Updated: November 30, 2017 - 6:42pm
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Tree lightings, parades and festivals are kicking will kick off the holiday season in Richmond and Columbia counties Columbia County this weekend.

A month-long celebration will help kickoff Christmas in Columbia County at Evans Towne Center Park beginning with the showing of the film Elf, on Friday at 7 p.m., with a surprise appearance by Elf of the Shelf.

The film is the first of three Friday night Christmas movies featured on the big screen. Friday, Dec. 8, will feature National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, and the Polar Express Dec. 15, will be the featured movie along with a surprise visitor. During each Friday night, patrons can enjoy S'mores, concessions and train rides along with the monthly light display. Festivities will take place from 5 - 9 p.m. with movies beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 2, will kick off with the 7th Annual Jingle Jam 10K benefitting Safe Homes of Augusta, beginning at 8 a.m.

According to the group's Facebook page, more than 700 runners have registered for the race at Evans Towne Center Boulevard. The annual race features music, choirs, Santa Claus and a costume contest and includes chip timers and a timing system to record start and finish times.

Temporary road closures will be in place beginning at 7 a.m. to accomodate runners, according to a news release from Columbia County.

Closures for Jingle Jam include:

Evans to Locks Rd. closed from Evans Town Center Blvd to Washington Rd, from 7:50 a.m. to when the last participant clears the roadway (approximately 20 minutes).

A one-lane section with a pilot vehicle and flaggers on Gibbs Road, between Bedford Dr. and Hebbard Way.

Town Park Blvd closed from Town Park Ln to Hereford Farm Rd.

Hereford Farm Rd will remain open to thru traffic, but will experience sudden stops and delays as several locations along Hereford Farm Road are part of the course where runners will cross the roadway, between Gibbs and N. Belair roads. Columbia County Sheriff's Office will be handling traffic control at these points.

East and westbound Washington Road traffic will be closed down to one lane of thru traffic approaching the intersection with Ronald Reagan Dr. from 7 - 10 a.m. Columbia County Sheriff's Office will be handling traffic control at this point.

Portions of Sir Galahad Drive, Chalice Circle, Graystone Way, Country Place Lane, Bettys Branch Way, Brandermill Road, Bedford Drive, Hebbard Way, Waterford Drive, Connemara Trail, Galway Drive, Lake Jean Drive, Lawrence Drive, Parkview Drive, Town Park Boulevard, Rachel Drive, Travis Court, and Pheasant Run Drive are included as part of the 10K course, but will remain open. Residents in these areas will see a large number of pedestrians between 8 and 10 a.m.

Columbia County and SafeHomes, Inc. ask, as a courtesy to the participants in this event, that residents along these local streets refrain from any on-street parking, limit trips to and from residences, and to yield the right-of-way to runners they may encounter, according to the news release.

Columbia County's 17th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting festivities will is also begin Saturday, from 2 - 7 p.m. There will be free photos with Santa, crafts with Mrs. Claus, roaming carolers, train rides, a vendor village, live nativity and fireworks. The tree lighting ceremony will begin at 6 p.m.

Grovetown and Harlem will hold their Christmas parades and festivals Saturday, Dec. 2, as well.

Grovetown's annual Christmas Parade will begin at 10 a.m. heading east down John Huffman Way road and ending on Robinson Avenue.

Road closures for the Grovetown parade will begin at 9:45 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m., according to information from the city. Road closures will include Horizon South Parkway from John Huffman Way to Wrighstboro Road and Wrightsboro Road from the intersection of Horizon South Parkway west to the intersection of Wrightsboro Road and Robinson Avenue.

Later in the day, Grovetown will hold its second annual Christmas Festival at Liberty Park from 4 - 8 p.m., with a Christmas Tree lighting taking place at 7:30 p.m. The festival will include more than 50 vendors, live entertainment, and pictures with Santa.

Harlem's inaugural Festival of Trees and Holiday Market will also take place Saturday, from 2 - 7 p.m. The city's annual Christmas Parade will begin at 2:30 and will feature a variety of themed floats including ""Whooville," "Let their be Peace on Earth," "Winter Wonderland" and "Joy to the World." The parade will be judged and trophies will be awarded, courtesy of Woodmen of the World in Harlem.

The day-long celebration will include a variety of craft vendors, Christmas caroling, real snow, hot chocolate, freshly brewed coffees and teas, S'Mores and the cast of FROZEN. Stop by the new Harlem Civic Center for the Harlem Art's Council open house.

At sundown, a count down will begin before the city is illuminted with thousands of Christmas lights at the Harlem Library plaza in the city's inaugural Festival of Trees.

Sunday, Dec. 3 the Merchant's Association of Columbia County will hold the 53rd Annual Christmas Parade beginning at 2 p.m. Road closures for the parade will begin at 1 p.m.

Spectators are urged to arrive early and are asked to view the parade along North Belair Rd, between Washington Road and Cox and Owens roads.

Evans Towne Center Boulevard will close to thru traffic at 10 a.m. Sunday, from the traffic signal at Evans Town Center Boulevard at Ronald Reagan Drive to the multi-way stop intersection at Evans To Locks Road at Evans Town Center Boulevard. This will be the staging area for the parade.

This will be followed by the closing of Washington Road (SR 104), from Ronald Reagan Drive to North Belair Rd, and the closing of North Belair Road (SR 383) from Washington Road to Cox Road/Owens Road starting at 1:30 p.m. for the parade route.

Officials said Hereford Farm Road and Towne Center Drive will also be closed to thru traffic. Several county roads will also be closed at their entrance and exits along the detour route.

The holiday fun does not end after this weekend.

The Christmas in Columbia County event is scheduled to run through Jan. 1, 2018 at Evans Towne Center Park.

The following two Saturdays (Dec. 9 and 16) visitors are welcome to come out to the park to enjoy s'mores, train rides, concessions, photos with Santa Claus, crafts with Ms. Claus, and the vendor village from 2 - 6 p.m.

For more information, visit evanstownecenterpark.com or contact Columbia County Community Events at (706) 868-3484.

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