The scarecrows are down and the Christmas lights are up in downtown Thomson, just in time for the seventh annual Festival Off Main.
The four-day festival has something for adults and kids each day.
THURSDAY, DEC. 3
The Thomson tree-lighting ceremony at The Depot begins at 6 p.m.Children from each of the elementary schools will sing, the Thomson City Fire Department will serve hamburgers and hot dogs and Santa will arrive to turn on the tree lights and hear what the children want for Christmas.
Pictures with Santa will be done by Walgreens. Chamber of Commerce Director Carolyn Gilbert said there is no charge for the picture, but it must be picked up later at Walgreens.
FRIDAY, DEC. 4
The third annual Town of Dearing tree-lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m. at the Dearing gym. Dearing Elementary students will sing and Santa will visit. All activities will take place in front of the gym.
At 6:30 p.m. in Thomson, The Polar Express will be shown at The Depot. For $5, children can watch the movie, participate in activities themed around the movie and enjoy snacks. Santa also will be making a stop at The Depot during this time.
Tickets are available at the chamber office, Big Dipper and the Briar Patch. Mrs. Gilbert said the Big Dipper ice cream shop and Cornerstone Deli and Bakery will be open that night for parents to enjoy while their children watch the movie.
SATURDAY, DEC. 5
The Depot Dash 5k run starts at 9 a.m. Call the chamber office at (706) 597-0335 for more information.
When the Depot Dash has ended, the festival entertainment will start, according to organizer Camille Ruddick. Entertainment includes Cindy Wilson's dancers, Thomson Bulldog Competitive Cheerleaders, Becky Morlan's sparklers, Y130 dancers and the Green Jackets mascot.
The festival also starts at 9 a.m. and will be in the Knox Shopping Center. Holiday shoppers can find handmade gifts such as yard sculpture, pottery, painted windows, dolls, ornaments, artwork and more, according to organizer Johnette Bell.
While the parents are shopping, the children can visit Whoville in the Y130 on Main Street, where they can make ornaments, crafts, play Christmas games, get a Who-hairdo and have their pictures made with the Grinch. Y130 Activities Coordinator Cori Johnson said some activities are free, while others will cost a minimum charge of a few dollars.
Children can go from Whoville to "funsville" and enjoy free inflatable rides on Journal Street.
The annual Tour of Homes begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Watson-Luckey House on East Hill Street. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door, which will include hors d'oeuvres and transportation to six homes in McDuffie County that are decked out for the holidays. Tickets are available at Peacock Hill, Luckey Printing and the Chamber of Commerce office
SUNDAY, DEC. 6
A "Winter Wonderland" arrives in Thomson with the parade down Main Street at 3 p.m. The parade starts at Thomson Middle School and will end on the West Hill Street area, with some floats going to the IGA shopping center and others going behind Thomson Elementary School on Fluker Street.
"We hope everybody can come and enjoy themselves," Mrs. Ruddick said.
The presenting sponsor of Festival Off Main is Elaine Taylor Allstate Insurance.
Gold sponsors are Anthony Auto, City of Thomson, Watson & Knox and WalMart.
Silver sponsors are Finuf Sign Copmany, Jimmy and Dena's Body Shop, Open MRI, Thomson Decorating and Carpet, Walgreens, Jefferson Electric and Comcast.
Bronze sponsors are Insides and Outsides, Ricketson Insurance, Georgia Power, Town of Dearing and McDuffie Electrical.