HOLIDAY CELEBRATION Schedule of Events
3:30 p.m. East Main Street closes
3:30 p.m. Chili Cookoff Booths/All Food and Craft Vendors can set up booths
5 p.m. Line up begins on Siebald St. for the parade
5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Festival begins
• Nativity Exhibit Opens — Over 20 different types of Nativity scenes
• Chili Town opens
• All craft and food vendors open — Over 40 different types of vendors
• Kiddie activities at Sea Island Bank open
• Mattie Lively School Choir performance on Court House Lawn
5:45 p.m. Golf Cart, Stroller and ATV Parade
6 p.m. Pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at City Hall
• Divine Deliverance Praise Team performance on Court House lawn
• Statesboro Dance Academy, White Christmas Dance Recital, Emma Kelly Theater
6:15 p.m. Live Nativity Scene on Court House lawn
6:45 p.m. Chris Mitchell School of Rock Holiday Concert on Court House Lawn
• Live Nativity Scene on Court House Lawn
7:15 p.m. Live Nativity Scene on Court House Lawn
7:45 p.m. Live Nativity Scene on Court House Lawn
8 p.m. Statesboro Dance Academy White Christmas Dance Recital, Emma Kelly Theater
• Winners are announced for the Chili Cook Off and the Parade entries
8:30 p.m. Festival ends
If decorating and shopping isn't enough to get you into the holiday spirit, the Downtown Statesboro Development Authority has the cure. On Friday, head downtown for the annual Holiday Celebration.
"It really is a good fun event and we've added more to it this year to give it more bang for the public to enjoy," said Tim Chapman, executive director of the Averitt Center for the Arts.
There are several changes to this year's event and size is one of them. The 2010 celebration is bigger than before with more than 40 vendors, children's activities, a nativity exhibit, live entertainment from Chris Mitchell Band and other local performers, photos with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, a golf cart and stroller parade, Chili Town and more.
"This festival combines all the elements of Christmas and the holidays and brings friends and families together," said Allen Muldrew, executive director of the DSDA.
One of the biggest changes this year is the Christmas parade. Instead of floats and automobiles, this year's parade will include only strollers, ATVs and golf carts.
"We don't have the traditional parade that we have done in the past but we've got an abbreviated version of a parade, and we believe it will be a lot more enjoyable and exciting for the public to come watch," said Chapman.
Participants are encouraged to get creative and decorate their entries. Prizes will be given in each category.
There are more vendors participating this year and, according to Muldrew, they're all local.
"That's the great thing about our Christmas Celebration. It's a local, community-driven event. Our vendors are local, our chilis are made by the people that you know and love," Muldrew said. "There's something always a little unique that you cant find at the bargain barn."
When the temperature starts dropping, the ever-popular Chili Town Chili Cook-off will be there to keep you warm. As of Tuesday, more than 15 groups had already signed up and more are expected to participate.
"It's probably one of the largest draws," said Chapman.
Each group will be responsible for decorating their booth and will serve samples of their own special chili. There will be several prizes including "people's choice" where tasters get to vote for their favorite.
And all of this just scratches the surface of all of the fun activities that will be going on that night.
There will be loads of fun activities for children including cookie decorating, a train, games, and, of course, pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
There also will be two separate areas of entertainment. There will be a deejay at City Hall and community entertainment featuring the Chris Mitchell Band, at the courthouse.
Last year the festival was dampened by light rain. This year, according to weather.com, the forecast is sunny. But festival organizers are not leaving that to chance.
"We have a rain plan this year. If, in fact, it rains we are going to move our vendors, as many as we can, indoors either at the Averitt Center or right beside the courthouse at the Galleria on Main," said Chapman.