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Dec. 8, 2019
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Mountain towns, area cities host holiday celebrations

By Jane Harrison
 
The mountain towns in Lake Lanier’s headwaters and cities shores celebrate the season with carriage rides, parades, Santa visits, winter fun and more. There’s even a chance for kids to swim with Santa! Here’s a sample of upcoming holiday events: 
 
Old Fashioned Christmas, Dahlonega. Annual holiday festival with carriage rides, lighting of the tree, Santa visits, food trucks and more. Daily festivities, except Mondays, through Dec. 22. www.dahlonega.org.
Festival of Trees, Helen. View and bid on beautifully decorated trees and wreaths, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. through Dec. 7, Unicoi State Park Lodge, 1788 Hwy. 356. Trees go to highest bidders on Dec. 8. $5 parking. www.helenga.org.
Magical Nights of Lights/License to Chill, Buford. Drive through seven miles of holiday lights, stop in for snow tubing, ice skating, snowball fun, visits with Santa, s’mores, refreshments and more. Light display through Jan. 6, License to Chill through February, Margaritaville at  Lanier Islands, 7000 Lanier Islands Dr. Various prices. www.lanierislands.com.
Swim with Santa, Gainesville. Swim, take photos with Santa, make an ornament, 6-6:45 p.m. ages 8 and younger, 7-7:45 p.m. ages 9 and older Dec. 6, Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, 1545 Community Way. For swimmers non-swimmers. Register by Dec. 3. $10. www.gainesville.org
Toccoa Christmas Fest. Carriage rides through holiday lit streets, carolers, live nativity, Santa visits, Santa Express train, 5-9 p.m. Dec. 6, Downtown Toccoa,  92 N. Alexander St. 706-282-3232. www.exploregeorgia.org.
Christmas in the Park, Oakwood. Live holiday music, hotdogs, hamburgers, marshmallows, hot chocolate, pictures with Santa, 6-9 p.m. Dec. 6, Downtown Oakwood, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd. 770-534-2365, www.exploregeorgia.org.
Flowery Branch Christmas Festival/Polar Express Block Party. Food trucks, bartenders, bon fires, visits with Santa at depot, train tours, venders, 5:30-8:30 p.m. Dec. 6. Downtown Flowery Branch. www.flowerybranchga.org.
Victorian Christmas at Hardman Farm, Sautee Nacoochee. See historic mansion in period holiday décor, learn about Victorian traditions from docents dressed in 1870s attire, ride a carriage down Unicoi Turnpike, visit with Santa, 4-7 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Dec. 6-21, Hardman Farm Historic Site, 143 Hwy. 17, $7-$12, free to children younger than 6, $35 family rate. www.gastateparks.org, 706-878-1077.
Christmas Parade/Christmas in the Park, Lula. Parade, Santa visits, 4-8 p.m. Dec. 7, Downtown Lula, 5959 Athens St. 706-677-2016, www.exploregeorgia.org.
• Christmas at the Gorge, Tallulah Falls. See Santa, make crafts, have a snack, 1-3 p.m. Dec. 7, Tallulah Gorge State Park, 338 Jane Hurt Yard Dr. $5 parking. 706-754-7981, www.gastateparks.org.
Christmas at the Inn, Toccoa. See 200-year-old Traveler’s Rest Inn decorated with homemade ornaments replicating holidays in 1800s, enjoy apple cider, teacakes, and holiday music, plus stagecoach pictures on the front steps, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 7 & 14, Traveler’s Rest Historic Site, 4339 Riverdale Rd. $1-$5. www.gastateparks.org, 706-886-2256.
Caroling Through the Park, Royston. Caroling hayrides, homemade ornaments, s’mores, 3-5 p.m. Dec. 7, Victoria Bryant State Park, 1105 Bryant Park Rd. $5, plus $5 parking. www.gastateparks.org, 706-245-6270.
Christmas in the Mountains, Cleveland. Old fashioned Christmas with carols, hot cocoa and cookies, kids’ activities, crafts, Santa visits, food booths and more, 5-8 p.m., parade with lighted floats 7 p.m., Dec. 7, Cleveland Courthouse Square, Hwy. 129/115, and Freedom Park, East Kytle St. www.whitecountychamber.org.
Cumming Parade & Festival. Parade from Central Forsyth High School to Cumming Fairgrounds; festival arts & crafts, hayrides, s’mores, Santa visits, tree lighting and more. Parade 5 p.m., festival 6-8 p.m. Dec. 7, Cumming Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Rd. www.cummingfair.net.
Christmas on Green Street, Gainesville. Antique car parade, marching bands, floats, visits to historic homes, musical groups, strolling magicians, carriage and miniature train rides Santa visits, traditional lighting of Rotary Tree, 4:30-7:30 p.m. Dec. 8. Green Street, which will be closed for festivities. www.gainesville.org.
Sunset Candy Cane Hunt, Tallulah Falls. Hunt candy canes, enjoy movie, hot chocolate s’mores, 5-7 p.m. Dec. 14, Tallulah Gorge State Park, 338 Jane Hurt Yard Dr. $5 parking. 706-754-7981, www.gastateparks.org.
Christmas in Cumming Arts & Crafts Festival. Handmade crafts, visits with Santa, 4-10 p.m. Dec. 13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 14;   Cumming Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Rd. $1 adults, free to children 12 and younger. www.cummingfair.net.
4th Annual Parade of Boats, Lake Lanier. Festively decorated boats parade from marinas to Landshark Landing at Margaritaville, various departure times Dec. 14. Inclement weather date Dec. 15. Charity donations. www.lakelanierholidayboatparade.com. holidayboatparade@gmail.com.
16th Annual Vogel Tree Lighting, Blairsville. Hayrides, music, and activities lead to Christmas program and tree lighting, 4-9 p.m. Dec. 14, Vogel State Park, 405 Vogel State Park Rd. $5 parking. Bring unwrapped gift for child 12 or younger. www.gastateparks.org, 706-745-2628. 
 
New Year’s Eve 
First Night Dahlonega. More than 20 musical performances at five venues near the town square, plus dancers, children’s activities, New Year’s countdown and Nugget Drop, 6 p.m. Dec. 31, Downtown Dahlonega. $10 for First Night button. www.dahlonegafirstnight.org.
Dropping of the Edelweiss/New Year’s Party, Helen. Music, food, party hats & favors, cash bar, dancing, champagne toast, 8 p.m. Dec. 31, Helen Festhalle, 1074 Edelweiss Strasse.  $20 person, $35 couple, free to children younger than 6, half price for children 6-12. www.helenga.org., 706-878-1908.
Crystal Vision 2020, Flowery Branch. Party favors, hor d’oeuvres, Satellite Boulevard Band, dinner, champagne toast, cash bar, 8 p.m. Dec. 31-1 a.m. Jan. 2, Venue at Friendship Springs, 7340 Friendship Springs Blvd. $85. www.eventbrite.com.

Posted online 11.25.19
 
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