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Get ready for a big First Friday in downtown Statesboro
Holiday Celebration, rescheduled Shopping by Lantern Light join forces once again
Santa closes out the holiday parade on East Main Street during the annual Statesboro Christmas Holiday Celebration on Dec. 6, 2013. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/file

This month's First Friday promises to be the biggest of the year.

It features the annual Christmas Holiday Celebration and all of its trappings. And for the second consecutive year, it will also be held in conjunction with the rescheduled Shopping by Lantern Light, which was postponed by inclement weather on its original date, Nov. 25.

The night will begin with Georgia Southern University men's basketball coach Mark Byington, who will serve as the master of ceremonies, at 5:30 p.m. Friday. First Friday lasts until 8 p.m.

At that time, the third annual Run the Boro 5K will take place. There will be a family-friendly golf cart parade. And Chili Town will offer more than 30 varieties of homemade chili, offering patrons the chance to vote for their favorite.

A Christmas tree-lighting ceremony will be held on the courthouse lawn. Children can get a picture with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus with photographer Adam Pittman in Santa's workshop, held in the Averitt Center for the Arts.

You can shop downtown from 50 craft and food vendors to get holiday gifts. Activities will be provided for the whole family to enjoy, including a Sea Island Bank train ride, Party Harbor bouncy houses, live music and performances by choral groups and dance schools. Downtown restaurants and shops will stay open late.

Across the street, in Charlie Oliff Square behind Sea Island Bank, the rescheduled seventh annual Shopping by Lantern Light will take place from 6-8 p.m.
The signature event for the Mainstreet Statesboro Farmers Market ushers in the holiday season, featuring more than 50 vendors representing local food producers and crafts from throughout the region. Lantern lights will provide a soft and nostalgic glow over choices including dairy products, meats, produce, nuts, eggs, honey, grains, baked goods, casseroles, holiday plants and unique crafts.

There will also be plenty of prepared foods to sample and to take home including chili and brats cooked by the Fresh Market Grille, Hunter Cattle's "world famous" burgers, foods prepared on the Big Green Egg, Jamaican recipes from Caribbean Feast, the Market Sweet Potato Bar, coffee, cider and hot chocolate. James Pittman and Joe Nelson will perform classic bluegrass music on the main stage.

It serves as the last in-person Farmers Market of the year.

"This is the largest market of the season and an opportunity to find everything you need for memorable holiday meals and gift giving while supporting our local farmers and vendors," said Debra Chester, the market's chairwoman.

For more information on either event, call (912) 764-7227. You can find Shopping by Lantern Light's event on Facebook or at For more information on First Friday, you can email


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