The holiday season kicks off in Thomson-McDuffie County next weekend with the Festival Off Main. The 8th annual festival begins Thursday, Dec. 2 and continues through Sunday, Dec. 5. Admission is free.
THURSDAY, DEC. 2
McDuffie County's school children will be singing Christmas songs and Santa will arrive to light the city's Christmas tree. Children may visit with Santa in The Depot and have their picture made with him. Festivities begin at 6 p.m. around The Depot.
FRIDAY, DEC. 3
At 6:30 p.m., children can eat supper with Santa in The Depot, make Christmas crafts and enjoy story telling. Supper is sponsored by McDonald's of Thomson. Seating is limited, and tickets may be purchased in advanced for $5 at the Chamber of Commerce on Main Street.
Santa also will visit Dearing that evening to light the town's Christmas tree. Dearing festivities begin at 6 p.m. in front of the Dearing Gym.
SATURDAY, DEC. 4
The annual Depot Dash 5K run begins at 8:30 a.m. and includes a Tot Trot and Kid's 1/4 mile run. Trophies and ribbons will be presented to winners in each category, and all participating adults get a T-shirt. For more information, visit www.festivaloffmain.com.
Children's activities that include free inflatables will be from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Michael Boardman will bring his extensive Lego collection, have a place for children to build things with Legos and put on a demonstration.
"That's going to be a big plus this year, because we've never had Legos before," said Carolyn Gilbert, director of the Chamber of Commerce.
Kicks 99 radio will be broadcasting live, and Sassy Brass Band from Augusta will perform around 2 p.m. A drawing for a raffle also will take place during Sassy Brass' performance. Raffle tickets are $2, and may be purchased during the festival for one of three prizes -- a boy's bicycle, a TV and one night's stay at the Hyatt. Winners of the raffle must be present at the drawing.
Mrs. Gilbert said there aren't as many vendors as in the past, because of the economy.
"We're just focusing this festival on children's activities and good entertainment and music this year," she said.
It's not too late for arts and crafts, or food, vendors to sign up for either day of the festival. For more information, call the Chamber office at 706-597-1000.
Saturday's festivities conclude with the annual Tour of Homes beginning at 5:30 p.m. Tours leave from the Chamber of Commerce office, and the last tour goes out at 6:15 p.m. Advance tickets are $20 and tickets that day are $25.
SUNDAY, DEC. 5
Children's activities, rides and shopping with arts and crafts vendors continues Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Entertainment will be the Buy Wag band from Atlanta.
The Christmas in Candyland parade begins at 3 p.m. Line up will be in the Norris Elementary School parking lot on Main Street. The parade will travel along Main Street through downtown Thomson to West Hill Street.
"It's going to be a great weekend for families to come out and have four days of fun," Mrs. Gilbert said. "We hope to see everyone there."
Visit www.festivaloffmain.com or call the Chamber at 706-597-1000.