With traffic worsening every day and more retailers opening their doors to holiday crowds, it seems like Columbia County and Christmas is getting commercialized into oblivion.
That makes it all the more important, then, to take a break this weekend for some Yuletide festivities by turning on some Christmas lights and cheering for Christmas parades.
First out of the chimney is Harlem, which sets off the Christmas cheer when the city lights its tree at 6 p.m. Thursday in front of city hall.
On Friday, Grovetown will glow as it lights the city's tree and the surrounding decorations Friday at 6:30 p.m. The city's annual Christmas parade follows Saturday at noon.
Santa will just have time for that parade to end before dropping in at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in front of the Justice Center in Evans to hear children's wishes and pose for photos. Then, at 5:30 p.m., County Commission Chairman Ron Cross will welcome revelers to the county's fifth annual Christmas in America celebration.
At 6:30 p.m. Columbia County Fair Queen Mandy Wheeler, along with area evacuees from Hurricane Katrina, will light up the county's Christmas tree and light-bedecked magnolias lining the courthouse lawn.
On Sunday, Wheeler will be one of hundreds of participants riding in the Martinez-Evans Christmas Parade, the granddaddy of area parades. To avoid problems with the Washington Road-Bobby Jones intersection, the parade's route has now been changed to run from the courthouse on Ronald Reagan Drive, to Washington Road and then along Belair Road. (Look for The News-Times parade entry, featuring the "mayor" of Evans!)
Then, it's back to Harlem for the city's Christmas-themed street festival Dec. 10, along with a parade beginning at 11 a.m.
So, starting Thursday, say "Bah, humbug" to traffic and long lines at the cash registers, at least for a few minutes by enjoying Christmas cheer with the community.
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