The Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season has arrived, and whether we’re ready or not, it’s time to start looking ahead to the 2018 Holiday Season and the events which define the season. Several 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 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 7th this year. By this time, the downtown Jackson area will decorated and lit for Christmas, and this year Mayor Pippin tells me that even more new lights will be added to the tops of the stores around the downtown square, making our square festive and bright. These lights will add to the ones installed along the tops of the main square buildings. Judge Betsy Biles is already making plans for decorating and lighting the historic Butts County Courthouse and last year I was able to get more bells for the clocktower from the City, which will return this year and ensure that the tower will be lit on all four sides this year. A side word about the Courthouse…we are in the process of beginning a restoration of the building and because of the current interior condition, the Courthouse will not be on the tour of homes this year…but look for it to return in 2019!

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. I understand this year it will make its turn north on McDonough Road and then turn and travel east on Second Street before making a turn on Mulberry. It will then head 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.

All during December, we celebrate Christmas In The City in downtown Jackson, when local stores on and just off the square celebrate the season with special displays and lots of cool stuff to sell. See the beautiful holiday displays and enjoy the sounds and sights of the season.

The annual Holiday Extravaganza at the Village at Indian Springs kicks off on December 1st 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 a number of 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 Garland House in Jackson, plus many more!

Pick and choose what you would like to see OR come back on Sunday, December 2nd and see what you missed. The tour of homes will run both days, December 1st and 2nd, 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 1st, 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 4th 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 newer businesses will be throwing open its doors again in 2018 for an all-day Christmas celebration on December 8th. The beautiful Rivers Ranch, an event center located just south of Jenkinsburg at 1959 Highway 42N, will be welcoming visitors to its second annual 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, children’s activities, pictures with Santa and more 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 are already appearing on our website calendar of events. To see it, just scroll on down this page to the bottom and you will find a list of events published there. 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! Also be sure to follow us on Twitter @JacksonButtsCo for posted updates on new events and any changes to current ones.

Here’s hoping you all have a safe and happy holiday season for 2018!