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THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2007
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Holiday festivities coming to Athens

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

ATHENS — There is a well-known Christmas carol about decking the halls, but in Limestone County, it's about decking downtown.

Christmas may be more than a month away, but Christmas activities to get everyone into the holiday mood start Sunday and continue into December.

Father Christmas is coming Sunday to the Spirit of Athens Committee's Holiday Open House in downtown. The event will be from 1 to 5 p.m. Father Christmas will be at Bennett's Clothing Store, and there will be entertainment on the south side of the square.

Hobbs Jewelers will have a drawing for a diamond pendant at 5 p.m.

A 20-foot Leyland cypress is relocating from S&S Nurseries to downtown for the annual Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce Christmas Open House.

Santa

That event will be Dec. 1 and will include Santa arriving via fire truck at 1 p.m. and a tree lighting ceremony on the square at 5.

Santa will pose for photographs at Bill Mathews' law office on Marion Street, and Mrs. Claus will offer cookies. There also will be shopping, carolers and other entertainment.

"And I'm predicting snow, just like I did last year," said County Commission Chairman David Seibert, who finagled a snow machine for last year's event.

Then get ready for the temperature to fall, as it always seems to do, in time for the annual Reliance Bank Christmas Parade that goes through downtown.

The parade will be Dec. 6 at 6 p.m., but spectators should arrive early to get a good viewing spot. Vehicles start parking on the parade route at about 2.

The parade draws between 3,500 and 5,000 spectators, according to Betty Christopher with Reliance Bank.

"People line up on both sides of the road from beginning to end," she said. "It's such an enjoyable event for the whole community."

Mayor Dan Williams said the city has had a Christmas parade for at least 50 years.

This year's theme is The Gifts of Christmas, and organizations already are working in secret on their floats in hopes of nabbing top float honors.

The parade starts at Athens High School and goes down Hobbs Street, then south onto Jefferson Street, circles the courthouse and continues down Jefferson Street to Hometown Grocery.

In addition to floats, look for marching bands, antique cars, horses, fire trucks and another visit from Santa.

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