As the holidays inch closer, the seasonal energy is often palpable. Many shops are a bustle of activity, and cooler temperatures bring about a taste for hot chocolate and cozy fires. It’s also a time of year when festive events are abundant. This special season is recognized in North Georgia by a number of celebrations. Here are several events to look forward to and places to visit during the upcoming festive season:
During the month of December, Blairsville transforms into a winter wonderland as numerous activities take place. Community caroling, a beloved tradition in many places, is embraced in Blairsville and all are welcome to participate. Holiday shopping is facilitated with various gift shops in the courthouse and historic Butt-Mock House. Finally, the highlight of the holidays in Blairsville is the Christmas parade, which travels from the square throughout the town. The parade features various unique floats as well as horses, antique cars, and Santa's sleigh.
For more information, visit: www.visitblairsvillega.com/fun-things-to-do-in-blairsville-ga/festivals
The Blue Ridge Scenic Railway features a special makeover for the holiday season. The Santa Express is an enchanting train ride through the Chattahoochee National Forest in winter. On the ride, guests listen to the classic ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas story. Passengers also get to sing Christmas carols and visit with different Christmas characters, including Santa himself. Children each receive Blue Ridge Scenic Railway souvenirs and activity books to remember the special time.
For more information, visit: www.brscenic.com
Downtown Ellijay annually hosts Light Up Ellijay, a holiday event featuring a parade, community shows, children's activities, and various other winter-themed festivities. The weekend-long event kicks off with its traditional Christmas tree lighting ceremony. After the ceremony, performances, including dance routines, concerts, and a Bible reading of the nativity story, take place at various times during the event. Children can write letters to Santa and enjoy a visit to the whimsical “Santaland.”
For more information, visit: http://www.lightupellijay.com
A most unique town reminicent of a Bavarian alpine village, Helen, Georgia offers one of the more visually exciting visits in the area. From the whimsically decorated village structures to the many holiday decore-infused stores, Helen should be in your plans this year.
For more information, visit: http://www.helenga.org
The Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds in Hiawassee will host the Mountain Country Christmas in Lights. It’s the debut year for the event, which will highlight seven festive light exhibits, along with carolers, food and craft vendors, Santa Claus, and other entertainment. The show opens Thanksgiving night and runs until New Year’s Day.
For more information, visit: http://www.georgiamountainfairgrounds.com/events/mountain-country-christmas
Nothing conveys the holiday spirit quite like music. In “Let It Snow: A Holiday Music Journey,” a spectacular show combines cherished holiday songs with a dazzling light production. The show features tried-and-true classics by artists like Frank Sinatra and Brenda Lee, as well as more modern sounds like the instrumental music of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. The event, hosted in the O. Wayne Rollins Planetarium at Young Harris College, will also include animated visuals and scenery with the domed structure of the planetarium giving the audience a unique perspective.
For more information on show dates and time, visit: www.yhc.edu/academics/math-science/rollins-planetarium/public-shows