Today's lake level: 1070.38
Your complete online news, information, and recreation guide to Lake Lanier
Dec. 1, 2020
3:54 pm


Lanier area events calendar

Note: Due to the coronavirus outbreak some events likely will be canceled. Please check before making plans to attend events.

Outdoor Calendar

Grounded pursuits
Turkey Can Run 5K, Jefferson. 8 a.m. Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day, First Baptist Church, 248 Washington St. $12-$25. Canned food donation appreciated.
Five Star Turkey Trot, Johns Creek. 5K 8 a.m. Nov.26, 3835 Johns Creek Pkwy. Virtual 5K/10K/Half Marathon available. $17.
 • Limestone Turkey Trot 5K/10K/Half Marathon, Gainesville. 8 a.m. Nov. 26, American Legion, Riverside Dr. Virtual option available. $35-$50. Donation of three canned goods appreciated for Georgia Mountain Food Bank.
Gobble Wobble 5K/Kids Fun Run, Cumming. 8:30/9:30 a.m. Nov. 26, Thanksgiving Day. See website for location. Virtual option available. $20-$35.
Dahlonega Old Fashioned Christmas. Nov. 27-Jan. 1, includes Nov. 27 Lighting of the Square, Santa visits, carriage rides, wine tours, festival of trees, arts exhibits and more. SEE MORE BELOW.
Holiday Tree Trail, Gainesville. Discover holiday trees decorated by artists, businesses and staff, hours to be announced, beginning Dec. 1, Gainesville Garden of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1911 Sweet Bay Dr. Garden admission., 404-888-4760.
Holiday Model Trolley, Gainesville. Model train trollies between two fairy villages, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Dec. 1, Gainesville Garden of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, 1911 Sweet Bay Dr.  Garden admission., 404-888-4760.
Cravin’ Bacon Walk, Braselton. Shops open late for walkers grazing on bacon treats and goodies, with VIP bourbon tasting option, 4-9 p.m. Dec. 3, Downtown Braselton. $35.
Swim with Santa, Gainesville. Decorate an ornament, swim indoors with Santa, 6-6:45 p.m. ages 5 and younger; 7-7:45 p.m. ages 6 and older, Dec. 4, Frances Meadows Aquatic Center, 1545 Community Way. $10 per child, adults free. Register by Nov. 30., 770-533-5850.
Victorian Christmas at Hardman Farm, Sautee Nacoochee. See historic farm mansion in period holiday décor, learn about Victorian Christmas traditions from docents dressed in 1870s attire; includes live music, 4-7 p.m. Fri. & Sat. Dec. 4-19, Hardman Farm Historic Site, 143 Hwy. 17. $7-$12, free to children 5 and younger, $5 parking. Registration required., 706-878-1077.
Christmas in the Park, Lula. Local businesses and churches serve free cookies, hot chocolate and more, 4 p.m., Dec. 5, Lula Train Depot, 5911 Wall St; parade from Lula Elementary School through Downtown Lula, 6 p.m. 770-869-3801.
Christmas at the Gorge, Tallulah Falls. Kids see Santa, make crafts, enjoy refreshments, 1-3 p.m. Dec. 5, Tallulah Falls State Park, 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr. Limited space. Pre-registration required. $5 parking. 706-754-7981,
Christmas Jingle 5K, Cumming. 3:30 p.m. Dec. 5, across from Cumming Fairgrounds, 246 Castleberry Rd. Virtual option available. $30/$28.
• Reindeer Run 5K/10K, Dawsonville. 9 a.m. Dec. 12, Downtown Dawsonville, 415 Hwy. 53. Virtual option available. $25-$35.
So You Want to be a Falconer? Helen. Master falconer/wildlife expert Buster Brown introduces his flock and equipment, training necessary for falconry, 11 a.m.-noon Dec. 12, Smithgall Woods State Park, 61 Tsalaki Trl. Limited to 25. Register in advance. $10, plus $5 parking. 706-878-3087,
17th Annual Vogel Tree Lighting, Blairsville. Hayrides, music, Christmas program, lighting of holiday tree, 4-7 p.m. Dec. 12, Vogel State Park, 405 Vogel State Park Rd. Bring chair and blanket, donate unwrapped gift for child 12 or younger. $5 parking. 706-745-2628.
Sunset Candy Cane Hunt, Tallulah Falls. Hunt candy canes, enjoy s’mores, holiday movie, hot chocolate, 5-7 p.m. Dec. 12, Tallulah Gorge State park, 338 Jane Hurt Yarn Dr. $5 parking. Call office to sign up. 706-754-7981,
White Elephant 5K, Sugar Hill. Christmas costume 5K, 6 p.m. Dec. 12, EE Robinson Park, 650 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Virtual option available. $15-$25. Canned good donation suggested.
Kayaking with Santa, Mountain City. Short paddle with Santa on Black Rock Mountain Lake, then hot chocolate and s’mores, 1-4 p.m. Dec. 14, Black Rock Mountain State Park, 3085 Black Rock Mountain Pkwy. Ages 6-adults. Sign up for paddling at 1 or 2:30 p.m. 706-746-2141,
Elachee Last Day Hike, Gainesville. New Year’s Eve morning hike on 3-mile Bridge Loop Trail, 9-11 a.m. Dec. 31, Elachee Nature Science Center, 2125 Elachee Dr. No hike in rain. Ages 12 and older. $5 parking. Register in advance., 770-535-1976.
First Night Dahlonega. Live music at four venues near the town square, family fun and entertainment on square and Hancock Park, 6:30 p.m. Dec. 31-12:30 a.m. Jan. 1. Children’s Nugget Drop 8:30 p.m.; traditional Nugget Drop midnight. $10 donation suggested. Children 12 and under free.
New Year’s Day 5K, Cumming. 9 a.m. Jan. 1, North Forsyth Middle School, 3645 Coal Mountain Rd. $15-$25.
First Day Hike, Mountain City. Bring in new year with 3-mile slightly strenuous hike to Lookoff Mountain, 9 a.m.-noon Jan. 1, Black Rock Mountain State Park, 3085 Black Rock Mountain Pkwy. $5 parking. Register in advance. 706-746-2141,
Braselton Lifepath 5K/8K. 9 a.m. Jan. 2, NGMC Braselton, 1400 River Place. $35-$40.

Uncle Shucks Corn Maze/Pumpkin Patch, Dawsonville. Through Nov. 25. 4-10 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sun. 125 Bannister Rd., Dawsonville. Also wagon rides and bonfire. $5-$22., 770 772-6223.
Christmas on the Farm, Gainesville/Cumming. Choose and cut Christmas trees, live trees, family activities, harvest shop, Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. $3 hayrides. 7170 Jot Em Down Rd,, 770 887-6028.
First Visit Tour, Helen. Van tour to covered bridge, Duke’s Creek, and cottages, 10-11:30 a.m. first Saturdays through Dec., Smithgall Woods State Park, 61 Tsalaki Trl. $5 parking. 706-878-3087,

Holiday festivities abound in Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas
The pandemic can’t steal Christmas, at least not in Dahlonega, where the spirit of the season shines in the city’s traditional Old Fashioned Christmas. Holiday lights, carriage rides, a hometown parade, decorated trees, live nativity, and numerous festive activities hosted by local businesses greet visitors to the Georgia mountain town this month and into January. “You can still feel the spirit of Christmas even in this crazy year,” said “Christmas Cindy” Tomblin, 2020 Dahlonega Christmas Chairperson. The city’s Downtown Development Authority/Main Street in coordination with the Dahlonega-Lumpkin County Chamber of Commerce and city and county officials decided to deck the halls and ring in the season, with a few changes. “We’ve canceled so many festivals this year,” Tomblin said a few days after local government officials gave Old Fashioned Christmas the go ahead. “People are coming anyway,” she added. Despite the cancellation of seasonal festivals, like Gold Rush in Dahlonega, Oktoberfest in Helen, and the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, tourists have flocked to Georgia’s small mountain towns. There, they might experience a sense of normalcy and escapism from stressful times.

And, in Dahlonega, Tomblin said, visitors can feel the Christmas season’s wonder and joy, in slightly different format. For instance, many restaurants and shops plan social distanced events in parking lots. Food trucks and restaurateurs can serve up “grab and go” specialties at a food court at the corner of West Main and Waters Street. The sparkle of downtown holiday lights expands for miles beyond the square. The parade route is longer. Visitors come from as far away as New York to bask in the small town charm during the holidays. “So many visit on drive throughs” from southern states, Tomblin said. “They enjoy seeing the lights and the historic architecture” of the town where prospectors found gold in the late 1820s,” she said. Long time downtown business owners looked forward to continuing holiday traditions. “We have so many wonderful businesses, many in business for 25-30 years” that have found a way to host their annual festivities, Tomblin said. Visitors can warm up with a Christmas tea, buy gifts at a Candy Cane Market, mellow out with wine tastings, get a dose of local history in walking tours, and sip hot chocolate at an old timey pajama party. Tomblin encourages families to book activities together in advance. Registration is recommended, as space is limited. Tomblin noted that the event’s “Santa Sponsor,” the region’s main healthcare provider, Northeast Georgia Medical System, is providing hand sanitizing stations and disposable masks.
Plan ahead for Old Fashioned Christmas activities
Visitors to Dahlonega’s Old Fashioned Christmas are encouraged to make plans in advance to attend activities. Some require registration. Check calendar at for updates.
Holiday Lights: Enjoy the beauty of Dahlonega’s Christmas lights and decorations thru January 10th. Historic District lights are on dusk to 11 p.m.
Carriage Rides: Dahlonega Carriage & Horse Rides will be giving carriage tours of the historic district, departing from visitor center and other locations on the square, if multiple carriages are in town, through New Year’s Eve. No rides on Christmas Day. See schedule at Dahlonega Carriage & Horse Rides Facebook page.
Old Fashioned Christmas Parade: Rescheduled to Saturday, Dec. 12, beginning at 4:30 p.m. Organizers will accept parade applications until a week before the event. Trophies will be awarded in four categories: cars/trucks, animals/walkers, golf carts, and floats. Parade entrants include marching bands, character groups (Christmas figures, elves, wisemen, shepherds, etc.), scouting groups, church groups and civic organizations.
Food Court: Dec. 4-5 in former bank parking lot at corner of W. Main and Waters Street, NW.
Festival of Trees: Families enjoy taking holiday photos in front of trees decorated by local community members through Dec. 31 at Hancock Park, corner of North Park Street and Warwick Street.
Candy Cane Market: Treats and gifts provided by Dahlonega Woman’s Club at Community House, 111 Park St.. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Dec. 4, 5, 11, 12.
Live Nativity: Dahlonega United Methodist Church will be hosting a live nativity in front of the church at 107 South Park St., Dec. 12 & 19.
New Year’s Eve Nugget Drop: First Night Dahlonega New Year’s Celebration features live entertainment all evening (at indoor and outdoor locations around the Historic District) leading up to the midnight “nugget” drop. Purchase a $10 All Access Pass the evening of the event at Jeremiah’s Place tent on the square. An early children’s nugget drop will happen at 9 p.m. Proceeds support Jeremiah’s Place, Lumpkin County’s only transitional housing facility for the homeless.
Note: See for events at Don Carter State Park on Lake Lanier.

Other area events
• Dec. 1 – Elachee Virtual Science Night features environmental education and discussion, a program best suited for adults. Free. Virtual event website: Info: 770-535-1976.
Brenau University
Info: 770-534-6263;

Buford Community Center
Dec. 4 – The Barefoot Movement Christmas Show, 8 p.m., features Nashville based group, The Barefoot Movement. The band’s intention for members of their audience: sit back, relax, take your shoes off and stay awhile while listening to heartfelt, energetic and down-home music. Tickets: $25-$35.
Dec. 11, 12 – Holly Dolly Christmas features Katie Deal celebrating the spirit of Dolly and her music. Deal, known for her portrayal of Patsy Cline in two national tours, has performed in touring concerts honoring the greats Ella, Judy & Patsy and for the past four seasons in Classic Nashville Roadshow and Country Royalty with Jason Petty. Tickets: $30-$35.
Dec. 18 – Jaimee Paul & Leif Shires Christmas, 8 p.m., features an evening of a Jazz Christmas. In a world desperate for peace and sanity, Jaimee and Leif discover their mission – delivering tranquility and hope through the gift of music. Tickets: $25-$35.
Info: 770 945-6762,

Chateau Elan Winery & Resort
Info: 678-425-0900 x41;

Clarkesville’s Historic Habersham Community Theater
Dahlonega’s Historic Holly Theatre
Info: 706-530-5162;

Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts
Gainesville Theatre Alliance
Info: 678-717-3624;

Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds
•  Nov. 26-Dec. 26 – Mountain Country Christmas in Lights features a spectacular and magical holiday light show, with special Christmas music provided by local churches, art & craft vendors, holiday food, hot chocolate and, of course, pictures with Santa. Show runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 6-9 p.m., starting Thanksgiving night (closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day). Admission: $6 per person; under 12, free. Free parking, no pets allowed.
Dec. 31 – New Year’s Eve Fireworks begins at dusk. Hot chocolate, BBQ and hotdogs will be on sale. Free to attend. Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds says, “We’ve all had enough of 2020, so come out to the (fairgrounds) and help us usher in 2021 with a bang!”

Habersham Community Theater

Interactive Neighborhood for Kids
INK is now open, but some new rules apply.
Lake Lanier Islands/Margaritaville
Thru Dec. 20 – Snow Island is open every Friday, 5-10 p.m. Go snow tubing, skating on the ice rink, hop on carnival rides and warm up with s’mores and hot cocoa and shop in Santa’s Workshop. Tickets: $39.99/$44.99 regular (value/peak days); $34.99/$39.99, child (Age 3-7), military, senior and group (15+); Free for children 2 & younger.
Thru Feb. 21 – Margaritaville’s Lakeside Lights Spectacular. Kick start your holidays with a visit to Margaritaville’s all-new Lakeside Lights Spectacular for a night of nostalgic winter fun. The lights will take you on a magical walk through an amazing lighting extravaganza with festive seasonal music. Tickets: $19.99/$24.99 regular (value/peak days); $14.99/$19.99, child (Age 3-7), military, senior and group (15+); Free for children 2 & younger. Times: 5-11 p.m., depending on days.
North Atlanta Trade Center

Northeast Georgia History Center
Each Wednesday, at 2 p.m., The Northeast Georgia History Center presents a livestream for the general public to enjoy via Facebook or YouTube Live. Each Friday, the facility presents special Member Livestreams for local and digital members. Digital membership is $3/month or $35/year for member livestreams and more. Check website for the upcoming October digital event calendar. 

Piedmont College
Nov. 23 – 32nd Annual Service of Lessons & Carols, 7:30-9 p.m. in the Chapel, features readings, carols and choir anthems to begin the Christmas season. The Piedmont Choral, under the direction of Bobby Ivey, Brass Choir and Sewell Organ will be featured.
• Nov. 29 – Wind Ensemble Partnership, 7:30-8:30 p.m. in the Chapel, partner with the finest high school players in the region performing great works for symphonic band.
Info: 706-894-4201,

Quinlan Arts Center
Thru Dec. 5 – 73rd Annual Members Exhibition recently announced the results of its exhibition, which will run through Dec. 5. You can view the list of winners on
Info: 770-536-2575;

Resurgens Theatre Company
The North Georgia Shakespeare Festival 

School Street Playhouse (formerly Cumming Playhouse)
Tannery Row Artist Colony
Dec. 5 – Holiday Market, noon to 4 p.m.
Info: 770-904-0572;

University of North Georgia
Dec. 2 – Virtual Concert: Chamber Orchestra Concert, 7:30-9 p.m. UNG’s Chamber Orchestra performs their Winter Concert. A link for the performance may be found on the events calendar of the UNG Music Department. Registration is required for all virtual events.
Dec. 4 – Virtual Concert: Holiday Choral Festival, 7:30-9 p.m.
Dec. 7 – Virtual Concert: ALNM – Itty Bitty Bluesopera, 7:30-9 p.m.
Dec. 7 – A Little Night(hawk) Music Series, 7:30-8:30- p.m.
Dec. 17 – Virtual Concert: Sinfonietta, 7:30-9 p.m.
Voices of North Georgia

- compiled by Jane Harrison & Millie Adcox

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