December has arrived, and whether we’re ready or not, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2017 Holiday Season and the events which define the season. Four events that our community looks forward to each year will be returning again this year: the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade in Jackson; the annual Christmas In The City around the downtown Jackson square; the annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Village at Indian Springs; and the Christmas Tour of Homes, which takes place in various locations around Butts County. I’m sure more will be added in the weeks ahead, but these three are centerpieces of our holiday season and we want to be sure and highlight them ahead of time so that you can plan out your schedule!

The annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade is held each year on the first Friday in December, which will be December 1st this year. By this time, the downtown Jackson area will decorated and lit for Christmas, and this year Mayor Pippin tells me that new lights will be added to the tops of the stores around the downtown square, making our square festive and bright. Judge Betsy Biles is already making plans for decorating and lighting the historic Butts County Courthouse and I am making arrangements to have three more lighted bells placed in the clock tower so that the tower will be lit on all four sides this year.

Everything should be in place for the parade, which starts at 6PM and travels down Harkness Street to Third Street, then east towards the square, making its turn north on Oak Street and traveling around the courthouse square before heading south on Mulberry Street and back out of town. Santa Claus is also scheduled to make his annual appearance at the Chamber Christmas Parade, so make sure you bring the kids to experience and enjoy this holiday tradition.

The next morning, Christmas In The City begins in downtown Jackson, when local stores on and just off the square celebrate the season with special displays, music, choirs and lots of cool stuff to sell. See the beautiful holiday displays and enjoy the sounds of children as they “sing in the holidays” in downtown until noon.

The annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Village at Indian Springs kicks off the next day on December 2nd with the Youth Choral Program in the Village Amphitheater and the Christmas Tour of Homes, which runs from 1:00PM to 5:30 PM. The Youth Choral event is at 2:00 PM. Tickets for the tour of homes are only $15 each and so far includes 12 Homes and Historic Sites (all circa 1823 – 1913).

Featured this year is the Indian Springs Hotel and Indian Springs Chapel, the McMichael House, the Holloway House and the Hoard House, Idlewild and the Indian Springs Resort, all in Indian Springs; the W F Smith House and the historic Flovilla Schoolhouse, both in Flovilla; the Carmichael House and Buttrill House, all in Jackson, plus many more!

Pick and choose what you would like to see OR come back on Sunday, December 3rd and see what you missed. The tour of homes will run both days, December 2nd and 3rd, with all proceeds going towards the ongoing restoration and upkeep of the Flovilla Schoolhouse Dinner Theater (ca 1885).

But wait…there is more! On December 2nd, following the tour of homes, head back over to the Village at Indian Springs for the annual Lighting of the Village at 5:30 PM and watch Indian Springs come to “life and light” when the Village Christmas lights are turned on for the season…then stroll around and visit the shops and gardens, all lit for the holiday season. You won’t want to miss it.

December 5th marks the Lighting of the Love Lite Tree Ceremonies at Sylvan Grove Hospital, which is actually one of the oldest holiday traditions in Jackson, dating back decades. Join the staff and local citizens at Sylvan Grove in front of the hospital for music, refreshments and Santa Claus beginning at 6PM and enjoy the festivities, all leading up to the lighting of the great tree in front of the facility.

One of our newest businesses will be throwing open its doors for an all-day Christmas celebration on December 9th. The beautiful new Rivers Ranch, an event center located just south of Jenkinsburg at 1959 Highway 42N, will be welcoming visitors to its very first Christmas At The Ranch Festival, beginning at 9AM and continuing until 4PM that day. According to their posting, they will have arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, live music, childrens activities, pictures with Santa and a silent auction to benefit Butts Mutts, our local humane society. There is a very small admission charge of $2.00 per head (under 10 gets in free), with all proceeds going to benefit Butts Mutts.

Other events will soon start appearing on our website calendar of events. We’ll include Christmas musical events and other holiday community activities for the whole family, so check back often and see what has been added!

Here’s hoping you all have a safe and happy holiday season for 2017!