Friday night festivals celebrate season
by Michelle Babcock
December 05, 2013 11:00 PM | 1385 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Woodstock and Canton will celebrate the Christmas spirit in their downtown areas this Friday, complete with seasonal music, shopping opportunities and a visit from Santa Claus.

Each festival begins at 6 p.m., and downtown stores will stay open until 9 p.m. With holiday decorations and festivities, the Friday night events will celebrate Christmas.

Woodstock

The December Friday Night Live festival in Woodstock will celebrate the spirit of Christmas with a downtown-wide theme of “Christmas on Main.”

This month is the last of the 2013 Friday Night Live festivals, until the 2014 season starts in March.

Kyle Bennett, director of tourism and visitors center operations, said the event will be a great opportunity for Christmas shopping and celebrating the season.

With many downtown stores offering sales and specials, officials said it’s a chance to save on holiday gifts while enjoying a Christmas-themed celebration.

The trees downtown are decorated with giant Christmas ornaments, and Bennett said “it’s breathtaking.”

Bennett said the “extremely talented” Above and Beyond carolers from Hillside United Methodist Church will be strolling around downtown at the event, and they are “not to be missed.”

“They’ve done this the last couple of years for our Christmas Friday Night Live,” Bennett said. “Very talented singers, they sing all sorts of Christmas songs. They go store front to store front, trying to go into each store. They’ll sing a couple of songs then move on to the next one.”

Santa Claus will be at the Woodstock Visitors Center in the historic Dean’s Store from 6 to 9 p.m. Visitors can bring their own cameras and take free pictures with Santa.

Another visitor from the North Pole, Leon the Elf, will be strolling around the downtown area Friday, and Bennett said Leon is loved by the children. Leon is known as Santa’s oldest and tallest elf.

“He strolls around town, and he has a book with all the children’s names in it, and he’ll look in the book and see if the kids have made Santa’s good list or bad list this year,” Bennett said. “He’s always a big hit with the kids.”

Blue Frog Imports will offer 15 to 60 percent off of selected items, The Write Stuff Collectables will have everything in the store on sale from 10 to 50 percent off, Fashion Cupcake will offer 10 percent off to customers who say “ho, ho, ho” at checkout, and Maxwell’s Cigar bar will offer 20 percent off all gift packages.

Many other stores are offering big discounts, and holiday-themed specials for festival goers on Friday. From live music to hot chocolate and cider, there’s plenty of holiday specials for everyone, Bennett said.

Bennett said that after enjoying an evening of Christmas fun Friday, Saturday will bring even more celebration of the season in downtown Woodstock.

Latimer Hall Arts and Crafts Show will be Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with 30 to 40 craft vendors, and many will have special Christmas-themed items for sale, Bennett said.

Latimer Hall is downtown, at 103 Towne Lake Parkway in Woodstock.

Saturday night will also feature the 17th annual Woodstock Jubilee and Parade of Lights. There will be food and craft vendors downtown, and the parade begins at 5:30 p.m.

Canton

The last Canton First Friday festival until August 2014 is this Friday, and it might prove to be a holiday celebration to remember.

The free event starts at 6 p.m.

Meghan Griffin, Canton Main Street director, said all of the decorations downtown will add to the festivities as Santa rides into town with the Canton Fire Department.

“The Canton Fire Department is allowing Santa to ride in on their large firetruck,” Griffin said. “Santa Claus will be coming to town at 6:30 p.m. and he’ll be bringing Mrs. Claus. And he’ll be hanging out so he can talk to all the kids and adults that want to talk to him.”

Hope Cassity, a country music singer and songwriter, will perform original songs and Christmas favorites, and there will be food and craft vendors downtown.

Griffin said it should be warm, so those who come out to enjoy the festival can enjoy a break from the recent cold weather.

“We should’ve done a tropical theme,” Griffin joked. “It’s just going to be a great time.”

The Historic Jones Building downtown will be decorated with Christmas trees and antique toy displays in the window, and Griffin said it will be beautiful.

“Merchants and organizations have put their Christmas tree and decorations up. We’re going to have an old toy store and vintage theme. It’s going to be really pretty I think,” Griffin said.

Griffin said that residents and merchants in downtown Canton, as well as community residents, are really what make the holidays special.

“It’s the community that Canton has that makes it a special time,” she said.

Griffin said since there will be a MUST Ministries toy drive going on, people can bring a new unwrapped children’s toy to donate to the cause. Vendors and car show participants can have their entrance fee waived by bringing a toy instead.

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