McDuffie County will hold a weekend of Christmas events starting with the annual tree-lighting ceremony Friday as Thomson's Festival off Main begins.
The evening begins at the Depot, off the city's Main Street, with groups from each local elementary school singing at 6:15 p.m. The arrival of Santa and lighting of the tree will immediately follow.
"Then everybody is invited back into the Depot, where they will have pictures with Santa," said Carolyn Gilbert, the director of the McDuffie County Chamber of Commerce.
Photos with Santa cost $5, but other activities are free. Children can shop at Santa's Secret Shop in the Annex. All items are $1 and include gift wrapping.
The Wrightsboro Foundation and the Junior Woman's Club will sell food during the evening.
The annual 5K Depot Dash is Saturday. Check-in is at 8 a.m. on Journal Street in downtown Thomson, and the race begins at 9 a.m.
Breakfast with Santa will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, and parents may bring cameras, Gilbert said. Seating for the breakfast is limited to 100.
Advanced tickets may be purchased from the chamber by calling (706) 597-1000.
From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, 132 vendors and artists will be on hand, said vendor Chairwoman Johnette Bell.
Entertainment will include the Crosstie Walkers, the Thomson High Jazz Band, the Briarwood Chorus and others.
The finale is the annual Magic of Christmas Parade, which will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Thomson Middle School on Main Street, and will end at Thomson Elementary School on Fluker Street.
"Everybody is excited about it being at night," said Debbie Jones, a parade committee member. "I think it'll be great for Thomson. It'll make Christmas downtown more elaborate."
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