The sixth annual Festival Off Main starts the Christmas season tonight in Thomson with Santa arriving for the city's tree lighting ceremony. The event begins at 6:15 p.m. in front of the Depot on Main Street, and includes choral groups from the local elementary schools, pictures with Santa, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers that can be purchased from the Thomson Fire Department, and a chili cook-off.
Saturday morning, children can enjoy a magical breakfast with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The $10 ticket includes breakfast, a picture with Santa and a craft that the child makes. Reservations must be made by Friday, Dec. 5 at the Chamber of Commerce.
The Depot Dash 5k walk/run will begin on Journal Street at 9 a.m., Saturday, with registration from 7:30-8:45 a.m. Registration is $15 in advance and $20 the day of the race, and walkers and strollers are encouraged to participate behind the runners. For more information, contact the chamber office.
The festivities continue all day, Saturday, with hundreds of craft, art and food vendors and live entertainment along Railroad Street and around the Depot. Free children's rides will be in the empty lot across from the Brier Patch on the corner of Railroad and Greenway streets.
The vendors close at 5 p.m., but the festival moves a few blocks north to the First United Methodist Church Family Life Center, where the Tour of Homes will be headquartered. The tours begin at 5:30 p.m., Saturday, and include eight historical homes within walking distance along Milledge, Lee and Church streets. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the day of the tour.
With just as much celebration as it started, the festival ends Sunday with the Christmas parade. Themed "An Old Fashioned Christmas," the parade begins across from the Brickyard on Main Street, continues 1.25 miles through downtown Thomson, and ends on Fluker Street. This year's Grand Marshal will be the McDuffie Regional Medical Center Auxilliary, who will start the gala at 3 p.m., and Santa will be the last in line on the Thomson City fire truck.
For more information on any Festival Off Main event, visit www.festivaloffmain.com, or call the Chamber of Commerce at 706-597-1000.