With Thanksgiving indulgences and Black Friday sales behind us, ‘tis the season for local organizations to deck the halls and spread Christmas cheer.
And the season has something for everyone.
The Liberty County Chamber of Commerce hosts two events downtown that offer fun for all ages, while coastal events at the Midway Museum and Fort Morris State Historic Site celebrate colonial customs.
Downtown Hinesville will be a gathering point for several events, including Christmas in the Park on Dec. 3 and the Illuminated Christmas Parade on Dec. 7.
“The holidays are about not only celebrating with your family, but celebrating with your community, and these are events that allow us to come together as a community — they’re also an opportunity to get to know members of your community that you may not have met before,” HDDA program assistant Katrina Barrow said.
“I think historic downtown is a perfect setting for Christmas in the Park and the parade, especially in the downtown walkable district because it provides a sense of charm and ambiance,” Barrow said. “It’s the centralized part of Hinesville, so what better way to celebrate the ambience and tradition of Christmas than coming to our community’s core?”
In addition to Santa Claus visits, make-and-take crafts and a tree lighting, Christmas in the Park will feature horse-drawn carriage rides form 6-8 p.m., Barrow said.
And chamber CEO Leah Poole added the events typically are free or low-cost.
“That is helpful when you are trying to buy all those Christmas presents, and they really give families something to do together that is fun,” Poole said.
She said she hopes people leave the events knowing “that the spirit of the holidays is alive and well in Liberty County” and “that our sense of community and togetherness is stronger than ever.”
With the Christmas parade in its 16th year, Poole said advances in technology have changed it the most. This year, the event will stream live on WTOC.com, which will give even deployed troops a chance to get in on the fun.
A new event is the Dec. 8 Christmas Tour of Homes and High Tea, which benefits the Hinesville First United Methodist Church sanctuary renovation. Tickets are $30 through Dec. 1, and $40 after.
The tour will feature seven homes and a seated tea luncheon.
A popular event from last year, the Hinesville Area Arts Council’s Cupcake War, will return Dec. 4. It allows visitors to sample creative little cakes of all assortments, and teams compete for culinary titles.
The city of Walthourville also will host its second-annual tree lighting, and Dunham Farms in Midway will open its doors for dazzling light displays and a holiday feast.
But Poole that the chamber events would not be possible without their sponsors. They include: GeoVista Credit Union, McDonalds, the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, CenturyLink, Savannah Technical College, Alltel, VIP Office Furniture & Supply and Pioneer Services.
Upcoming holiday events
• The Dorchester Village Civic Center will host a Christmas Bazaar and Fish Fry from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 1. The event includes arts, crafts, decorations, gifts and a visit from Santa at 1804 Islands Highway, Midway. Call 884-3342.
• Walthourville will host the second annual Lighting of the Tree from 6-8 p.m. Dec. 1 at Walthourville City Hall. The event includes singing, coffee, hot chocolate, cookies and Santa Claus.
• The Holiday Festival of Lights and Music at Dunham Farms is from 2:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 1 and will feature a tour of lights, wagon rides, crafts, Santa and more. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, military and children 5 and older. Children younger than 5 will be admitted for free. Tickets are available online at www.dunhamfarms.com or at the gate, Islands Highway six miles east of I-95.
• Christmas in the Park will feature a visit from Santa, tree-lighting ceremony, arts and crafts, cookie decorating, caroling and snacks from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 3 in downtown Hinesville. Sponsored by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and the Hinesville Downtown Development Authority.
• The Hinesville Area Arts Council hosts a Cupcake War from 5:30-7 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 102 Commerce St., Hinesville. The event is free and open to public.
• The 16th annual Illuminated Christmas Parade begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7 and brings lighted, festive floats through an ambient downtown. The theme this year is “A Vintage Christmas: Celebrating the Culture and Heritage of Liberty County.” Sponsored by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce.
• Hinesville First United Methodist Church sponsors a Christmas Tour of Homes and High Tea from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8. Tour features seven homes. Tickets are $30 through Dec. 1, and $40 after. Call 368-2200.
• The Midway Museum’s 53rd annual Christmas Tea is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 8. Call 884-5837 or go to themidwaymuseum.org.
• The Fort Morris Historic Site Colonial Christmas is Dec. 8 from 5-8 p.m. For more information, call 884-5999.
• Illumination Night at Dunham Farms is geared for adults and children older than 10 with holiday music, an illumination ceremony, feast and wagon rides. The event is from 4:30-9 p.m. Adult admission is $55, military and children ages 10 and older, $49. Call 880-4500 or go to www.dunhamfarms.com.
• The Liberty County Community & Area Mass Choir presents a live concert “Mary Did You Know” at 4 p.m. at the Jesup Presbyterian Church, 297 S. Brunswick St., Jesup, or 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 203 N. Main St., Hinesville.