Commerce will officially welcome the Christmas season in this weekend with events Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Downtown will be both colorful and musical Friday for the annual Commerce by Candlelight event from 5 to 9 p.m.
Stores will be open late with Christmas sales, sidewalks will be lighted by luminaries, musical groups will present concerts from the steps of City Hall and participants will be invited to tour the downtown by horse-drawn carriages.
“Almost all the downtown businesses will participate and the stores will be open late,” advised Denise McKay, Main Street manager.
Members of Berea Baptist Church will perform a live nativity in Spencer Park.
Groups singing from the steps of City Hall include Rick Lewis and Friends at 5:30, the Commerce High School Concert Band at 6 p.m., the First United Methodist Church Hand Bell Choir at 7, the Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church Youth Choir at 8 and Rick Lewis and Friends again at 8:30.
Carriage rides will be offered from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Mrs. Santa will tell stories at Shubert & Co., Santa will be available at Chris’ Place for photos, the Gov. Hardman House will be open for tours and the East Jackson Comprehensive High School Chorus will perform at the Commerce School of Dance. There will be free hot chocolate and baked goods offered in Spencer Park.
Christmas events will continue Saturday with the Run Run Rudolph 5K at 8 a.m. hosted by the city and sponsored by the Georgia Municipal Association. All proceeds will go toward the Mayor’s Christmas Motorcade and the Georgia Cities Foundation.
Registration can be done online at www.commercega.org. The fee is $28, which includes a $3 signup fee.
The Breakfast with Santa and Secret Santa Workshop will be held simultaneously at the Commerce Civic Center from 10 a.m. to 11:30 on the same day, sponsored by the Four Seasons Garden Club. Children and parents are invited to purchase donuts and juice for $2 and a photo with Santa for $5. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Commerce Public Library Memorial Garden Fund.
The Secret Santa Workshop features kids-only shopping in the Commerce Room of the civic center, with gift-wrapping available in the Peach Room. All gifts are $10 or less.
“The Secret Santa Workshop has grown like crazy,” McKay said. “We have more children and more vendors. It’s awesome.”
The Pilot Club of Commerce, Jackson Creative and the Commerce High School chapter of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) will help with the program.
A free showing of “The Muppets Christmas” will follow at 2 p.m. at the Commerce Public Library on South Broad Street.
Parade On Sundayay
The highlight of the weekend will be the official arrival of Santa Claus during the Commerce Christmas Parade, which will be held at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The theme is “Christmas Songs on Parade,” and first, second and third-place plaques will be presented to the top three parade units.
Applications are available online at the Commerce website (commercega.org), the Commerce Downtown Development Authority website, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Denise McKay at 706-336-6417.
There is no entry fee.
Both the East Jackson Comprehensive High School and the Commerce School System bands will perform. The parade will also feature units from the EJCHS ROTC and local veterans.
The parade will begin at the Commerce High School parking lot, proceed up Washington Street (where judging will take place), turn right on Elm Street and proceed south to the parking lot of Lanier Technical College.
“We have a lot of volunteers helping with the parade,” McKay pointed out. “We couldn’t do it without their help, especially the Kiwanis and Lions clubs and the Commerce Area Business Association.
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