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Boro Christmas festival is Thursday

            Downtown Statesboro invites area residents to immerse themselves in the spirit Thursday and Friday with holiday events designed for people of all ages.

            Everything starts  Thursday night with the city’s annual Holiday Celebration and Parade which starts at 5:30 p.m. Grand Marshall Joe Brannen will deliver Santa Claus to City Hall where St. Nick will be available for pictures from 6 - 9 p.m. Individuals should bring their own cameras.

            In addition to the parade, downtown will be teaming with events and activities. The shops will be open, there will be vendors in the street and two stages will be set up for live music. In front of the courthouse, the city-sponsored Great Chili Cook-off will feature 20 different chilis prepared by 16 different teams comprised of local restaurants, civic organizations and individuals.

            For the kids, the Statesboro-Bulloch County Parks and Recreation Department will have a craft booth where they will be able to make their own ornaments and Sea Island Bank will have a “winter wonderland” in their parking lot, complete with snow and a kiddie train. Also, the courthouse lawn will be covered with artificial snow, starting at 5 p.m.

            Another big event Thursday night is the Savannah Avenue Tour of Homes, starting at 6:30 p.m. Featuring six historic houses and lit by over 1,000 luminaries, the event is sponsored by the Savannah Avenue Neighborhood Association and will feature entertainment and refreshments at each home. Tickets are available at the Averitt Center, downtown banks and merchants or by calling the Downtown Development Authority at 764-7227. They also will be sold the night of the tour at 203 Savannah Avenue.

            Ticket prices are $10 for adults and children under 12 are free. Proceeds go to support the association, which helps preserve Statesboro’s only historic neighborhood. A trolley, provided by the city’s Public Works Department, will pick up tour-goers in front of Alicia Bea’s on East Main and take them back and forth from the tour.

            For all the happenings on Thursday, the city will be closing off East Main around 4 p.m. and Savannah Avenue will be closed around 5:30 p.m.

            Friday night, the Downtown Development Authority will host its monthly First Friday activities. The streets will be lined with over 500 luminaries to facilitate twilight shopping. The galleries will be open, artists and musicians will be out on the sidewalks and the Paper Doll will be hosting a fashion show.

            33 West will have clay artist Michele Stephens and turned-wood artist Bill Stephens in the studio to demonstrate their craft. Works by potter David Posner will also be on display.

            The Averitt Center will host numerous events Friday. The galleries will be open featuring the Holiday Card exhibit, a youth exhibit by Statesboro High School and William James Middle School students as well as Images and Conversations with the resident artists in their studios.

            Also, two films will be shown in the Emma Kelly Theater commemorating Pearl Harbor Day. “Lest They Be Forgotten, Iwo Jima War Stories” will start at 6 p.m. followed by the blockbuster hit, “Pearl Harbor,” starring Ben Affleck, at 7 p.m. Both films are sponsored by Joiner-Anderson Funeral Home and are free to the public.

            For additional information about either night, call the Downtown Development Authority at 764-7227 or the Averitt Center at 212-ARTS(2787).

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