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Holiday celebration draws crowd

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Holiday music, games and chili were all a part of Statesboro's Downtown Holiday Celebration Thursday night as hundreds of residents took part in the festivities.
    Ken Johns said he came out for the chili cookoff, where people and restaurants competed for various honors for their chili.
    "It's really good so far," Johns said. "I've made to about half of the chili tables so far."
    Johns said this is the fourth year he's come to the event and he looks forward to the chili cookoff each year. He also said he enjoys the family atmosphere of the event.
    The chili cookoff has become more and more popular each year and this year, organizers set up a special category for restaurants to let them compete against one another for the title of best chili.
    David Boykin was there with his two children while his wife was volunteering with the 5K race.
    "We've been to all of them," he said. "It's like a family tradition for us. (My children) have grown up doing this."
    Boykin said his children also ran in the kiddie run prior to start of the 5K race.
    Seventeen-year-old Angelica Hunter said she also comes out every year to the event. Her favorite part of the celebration was the fake snow being sprayed at Sea Island Bank, though she said she didn't want to go play in it.
    "My niece is in there and I'm just watching her," she said.
    The popular event also had the arrival of Santa Claus with a police escort though downtown Statesboro. He and his wife waved to the crowd as they drove past all of the festivities in the evening.
    Speakers were set up on the balcony of City Hall that played Holiday music that could be heard throughout the downtown area as well.
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