Columbia County will be filled with the Christmas spirit this weekend.
In Grovetown and Martinez, parades on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, will kick things off. Meanwhile, at the Evans Government Complex, the county's first Christmas-tree lighting will be the attraction Saturday night.
"It sounds like it's a big weekend for the county," said Charles Lanier, chairman of the Martinez parade.
The Grovetown parade will begin at the Grovetown Department of Public Safety at noon and travel Robinson Avenue. Participants will throw candy to spectators from floats.
The Martinez parade will start at 2 p.m. and will stretch two miles, beginning at the intersection of Washington and Columbia roads and ending at the Columbia-Richmond county line on Washington Road.
Lanier said the Martinez parade is one of the largest in the area.
"It really does get folks in the Christmas mood," he said.
This year, about 150 float entries are expected, and the parade could attract as many as 20,000 spectators.
"An awful lot of the participants are from Columbia County," Lanier said. "You get an interesting blend of floats."
The tree-lighting ceremony - dubbed Christmas in America - will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Evans Government Center, off Ronald Reagan Drive.
An elementary school chorus and the Columbia County Choral Society will perform. A singalong also will take place, and vendors will set up in a nearby parking lot.
A third parade, sponsored by the Harlem Lions Club, will start at 2 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and run along Georgia Highway 78 and then through downtown Harlem.
Santa Claus, who will appear at the Martinez, Grovetown and Harlem parades, will be at the tree-lighting for photos.
If you go
WHAT: Martinez Christmas parade
WHEN: 2 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: The parade route will begin at the intersection of Washington and Columbia roads and travel Washington Road to the Columbia-Richmond county line.
WHAT: Grovetown Christmas parade
WHEN: Noon Saturday
WHERE: The parade will begin at the Grovetown Department of Public Safety and will travel Robinson Avenue.
WHAT: Christmas in America - Columbia County's Christmas-tree lighting.
WHEN: 3-6 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Evans Government Center
WHAT: Harlem Christmas Parade
WHEN: 2 p.m. Dec. 15
WHERE: The parade route will travel Georgia Highway 78 and through downtown Harlem.
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