By all accounts, McDuffie County's inaugural Christmas Off Main Street weekend was a raging success.
Hundreds attended both the annual Thomson Christmas Parade as well as Festival Off Main Street, a number that delighted weekend organizers and vendors.
A young girl peers into the face of Santa Claus at the Thomson Depot Friday night. Dozens of children who attended the community Christmas tree lighting also spent a little time visiting Santa. Click here to see more pictures
"I think it was a complete success for a first time festival," said Thomson-McDuffie Chamber of Commerce Director Carolyn Gilbert. "We had a lot of compliments on it, and all in all I thought it was very successful."
Chamber President Mary Anne Coussons said she was impressed that many out-of-town people came to McDuffie County to watch the parade and check out some of the unique things on display at the festival.
"We had people from all over the area here. It seemed like a culmination of everything coming together. It wasn't the effort of one person; it was the entire community," she said.
Betty Linham certainly agreed. She came from her home in Augusta for the antique mall.
"I used to live in Thomson, and I don't remember anything like this," she said. "This is just great. It looks like a lot of people are having a lot fun. It's nice to see."
Mike Dudley of Dudley Nurseries in Thomson also thought that the event was a good showcase for downtown Thomson.
"I think it's just great what's been done here," he said Saturday. "People seem to be having a lot of fun."
Not to be outdone were both Friday night's lighting of the city Christmas trees or Saturday's inaugural 5k run/walk, the Depot Dash.
Race Coordinator Brad Adams said that around 70 participated in the race, and that like the festival, people from all over the area showed up to participate.
"We had some out-of-town people from Atlanta, Augusta, and Waynesboro. I'm very pleased with the turnout of the race considering it was our first year," he said. "I had a very positive response by the people from out-of-town as well. They thought we had a neat town and a neat community."
Festival organizers met yesterday to talk about changes that they want to see made for next year's holiday weekend, which Mrs. Gilbert said is already being planned.
"We're already talking about what worked and what didn't work. We're planning, and we're talking about what we want to do," she said.