The Christmas season kicks into high gear this weekend with parades and other events across Middle Georgia.
Two parades will be held in Macon on Saturday and Sunday, beginning with a boat parade at Lake Tobesofkee. Children will be able to visit with Santa, sip hot chocolate and nibble cookies at Claystone Park at 3 p.m., and the boat parade follows at 6 p.m.
The next day thousands of revelers are expected to attend the Main Street Macon Christmas Parade in downtown from 3-6 p.m. This year’s theme is A Merry Macon Christmas. The parade will feature a record number of marching bands, and Fire Chief Marvin Riggins will be the grand marshal.
“We want people to come out and understand all the things that make Macon great entering the holiday season,” Main Street Manager Steven Fulbright said. “It’s lively, colorful and the floats are really cool. Even though it may be dreary outside, we want to brighten everyone’s day.”
Floats, marching bands and Santa Claus will also be in attendance at Saturday’s Robins Regional Chamber’s Christmas Parade in Houston County. The parade starts 10 a.m. at Commercial Circle on South Davis Drive and ends at the intersection of Houston Road and Watson Boulevard in Warner Robins.
Also on Saturday, the cities of Byron, Fort Valley, Perry, Milledgeville, Dublin and Centerville will have Christmas parades. Along Juliette’s McCracken Street the same day will be food, games, dancing and old St. Nick.
And from 6-8 p.m. Friday, people will gather at the Tubman Museum in Macon for a Christmas tree lighting. There will be carol singing and refreshments.
And if you miss this weekend’s holiday celebrations, churches and organizations have more special events through the end of 2016.
Next year a special Christmas display will be a big draw to downtown Macon.
That’s when lights synchronized with music will stretch from Poplar Street near the Macon-Bibb County Government Center to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.
The original plan was to have the exhibit ready for this holiday season, but it’s been moved to 2017 because of the time it’s taking to get ready. Once it’s on display, downtown business developer Bryan Nichols said he hopes it becomes a yearly attraction.
“Nothing has been done in a city anywhere that has three long, wide city blocks with lights synchronized to music,” he said. “It’ll be a huge thing for Macon and will bring people from all over.”