Happy December!

The last month of 2016 has arrived, bringing with it all of the joys of the holiday season and a lot of really cool things to see and do as our community gets geared up to celebrate Christmas…and there is no better way to experience it than a small town Christmas in a community with a big heart!

We kick things off on Friday, December 2nd with the Annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade, which begins at 6PM at the Jackson High School Campus. Floats, bands, old vehicles, cheerleaders, scouts and much more will line up on Harkness Street in front of the High School and will begin making their way towards downtown Jackson on the top of the hour. Be sure to come early and grab a good parking space at the Butts County Administration Building, which is one of the best places to see the parade. All of the outer parking spaces are available to watch the parade come by.

The parade will turn off of Harkness Street and head towards the square, turning left at the Courthouse onto Oak Street, then right on Second Street and right on Mulberry, heading south towards Central Georgia EMC. There are a lot of good vantage points to watch the parade, but parking on the square will be closed so be sure to use one of the City parking lots if you plan to stand on the square to see the parade. Better yet, grab a parking space early,  enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants around the downtown area, and get back in time to watch the festivities! Santa Claus will bring up the end of the parade and will be available for the children to say hello to as well.

The next day will begin with a lot of activities to celebrate the Christmas season. The downtown stores will be open and decorated, with carolers out and about, and you might find some great refreshments here and there. You can save a lot of time and headaches by shopping locally, which helps our local businesses…and you’ll be surprised to find much of what you are looking for in the way of Christmas shopping can be found around town.

After a good lunch, come out for the The Butts County Historical Society Holiday Extravaganza and Tour of Homes which begins at 1PM on Saturday and continues until 5PM…and which will be repeated again on Sunday, December 4th. Many of the local favorites will be on the list, plus some new additions, including the Historic Carmichael House, which is about to reopen after several years absence from the tour stage.

The Village at Indian Springs will also play a major part in ringing in the Christmas season with Youth Choral Programs from 5PM-6PM Saturday evening in the beautiful new Village Amphitheater…then watch the entire Village come alive with the Lighting of the Lights at 6PM. All shops will be open and decorated, with Holidays Sales! Plus hot chocolate and cookies, horse and carriage rides and more!

On December 8th, the City of Flovilla will hold their Annual Community Christmas Party at the Historic Flovilla Schoolhouse beginning at 7PM. Rumor has it that Santa will be making an appearance here as well and they will also be collecting donations of non-perishable food items (canned, dry goods) to help feed the needy in the community. If you live in the Flovilla or Indian Springs area, this is a great way to get to know your neighbors and celebrate the holiday season.

One particular event that I’m very happy to see is the opening of the Carmichael House, which is scheduled for December 10th from 1PM to 5PM. The new owners of the home have put forth tremendous efforts to bring this beautiful 1898 Queen Anne mansion back to its place as one of Jackson’s most historic homes, after it sat empty and neglected for several years. The Carmichael House is a survivor and if you don’t get a chance to see it during the Historic Tour of Homes, grab the chance to see it on the 10th and you’ll definitely feel the love that has been given to J.R. and Norma Carmichael’s legacy in architectural form.

One thing I do want to mention is to keep in mind those in our community who are in need, especially during the Christmas season. There are several ways that you can help-the City of Jackson Can-A-Thon is one way, and all you have to do is pick up a few extra canned goods when you go to the grocery store and drop them in one of the handy collection bins that are located around town in different places…or you can bring them by City Hall in Jackson. For more information, contact City Hall at 770–775–7535. Then there is the Sheriff’s Cause for Santa Claus which collects donations to provide Christmas to needy families throughout the county. To find out how you can help, contact the Butts County Sheriff’s Office at 770-775-8216. Many local churches are also conducting programs to help those in need. Check with your church to see how you can help!

Be sure to check in regularly with the Jackson Progress-Argus and WJGA Radio Station to find out about other programs going on in the community for the holidays. We have many churches putting on programs of music, plays, dinners and other events that will be highlighted in our local news media…far too many to list here but you definitely will want to know about them and take advantage of the opportunity to be filled with the holiday spirit.

Other ways to find out what’s going on include Haley Browning’s Water Girl Report on WJGA each Friday at 9:30 AM, as well as local Facebook pages for the Village at Indian Springs, Butts County, Jackson, Jenkinsburg and Flovilla. Be sure to follow us on Twitter (@JacksonButtsCo) to get up-to-date tweets about events as we find out about them…and keep an eye on our Community Calendar, which can be found at the bottom of this page for events and times!

On a personal note, 2016 has been a good one for our community…we’ve really pulled together to coordinate our activities, promote our towns and organizations, get the word out to the greater Georgia area about who we are and what makes Butts County so great…and we’re really starting to see results as people take notice of us. It’s always gratifying when a Facebook friend from another county tells me they’ve heard about something cool we’re doing down this way and it lets me know that the word is getting out about Butts County.

December is the month where we not only celebrate the holidays but also a time to take a moment and reflect back over the year we’ve had, while thinking ahead to the year about to begin. There are already a lot of great plans being thought about for 2017 and we’re going to enjoy sharing them with you in the months to come.

Until then, I wish every reader a safe, joyous, happy and fulfilling Christmas holiday season and a prosperous New Year to come. Thanks for your support of our community, our businesses, our schools, our organizations and everyone that works together to make Butts County a great place to be.

May you and your families have a wonderful season and a prosperous New Year!