Thomson's sixth annual Festival Off Main is just around the corner just in time to get in the Christmas spirit and start holiday shopping.
"There's no way anyone can come to this festival this year that they can't find something they want," said Johnette Bell, who organizes the vendors. "We have everything from apple pies to zebra bags."
Shoppers can find exclusive, homemade gifts such as yard art sculptures, baby clothes and hair bows.
"There should be something for everybody," Mrs. Bell said. "There will even be duck calls and turkey calls for the men."
Mrs. Bell said there will be 129 vendors, including food vendors ranging from "Greek food to hot dogs." And all the children's rides will be free this year, except the live pony rides.
"So the kids can play on the rides while their mamas and daddies shop," Mrs. Bell said.
The festivities begin Thursday evening, Dec. 4, with the annual tree lighting ceremony in front of the Depot on Main Street. Thomson Mayor Ken Usry will light the tree at 6 p.m. and 128 children from all the local schools will begin singing at 6:15 p.m.
Visits with Santa will be at 6:45 p.m. Thursday in the Depot, and parents may bring their own camera to take pictures of the special moment. At the same time, a chili cook-off will be taking place in the Depot Annex. Registration forms for the chili cook-off are available on the Festival Off Main website or at the Chamber of Commerce. Organizer Dianne Landers said two prizes will be awarded: People's Choice and Best Chili. Ms. Landers said chili chefs may sell their chili, if they'd like. The Thomson City Fire Department also will be selling chili, along with grilled hot dogs and hamburgers that evening.
The festivities continue at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 6, with the annual Depot Dash 5k run, and the arts and crafts festival in the Depot parking lot. Registration forms for the Depot Dash are available on the festival website or from the Thomson Family Y.
The children can enjoy breakfast with Santa at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Depot. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased in advance at the Chamber of Commerce. In order to be able to accommodate as many children as possible, only two adult tickets per family will be allowed.
The Holiday Tour of Homes begins at 5:30 p.m. that evening, and the Christmas parade will take place Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. See next week's McDuffie Mirror for more information on the tour of homes and parade.
For more information on the festival, visit www.festivaloffmain.com or call 706-597-1000.
Thursday, Dec. 4 - tree lighting with Santa and chili cook-off 6 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 5 - Dearing Christmas Tree Lighting at the Dearing Gym, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 6 - Depot Dash at 9 a.m., Breakfast with Santa at 10 a.m., festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tour of Homes, 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, Dec. 7 - Christmas parade at 3 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 11 - Chamber Concert at the Depot with Celtic guitarists Steve Baughman and Robin Bullock, 7:30 p.m.