“Merry Christmas, guys!” Mathews declared as the tree lit up in front of the Depot, about 200 feet from the stage where he stood. “Thank you guys for your help.”
The ceremony, which featured music from St. Catherine of Siena Roman Catholic Church’s choirs, was the cap to a day of holiday-themed festivities in downtown.
A parade with 60 entries kicked off the afternoon at the Christmas event, which city spokeswoman Pam Davis said has been held annually for a “long time,” though she didn’t know how long. For the first time, it had a “Snow Tube” ride, where, for $2, kids could get a taste of sledding not often available in the suburbs in Georgia.
Other inflatable and bungee rides were also on site. Kids could visit Santa inside the Depot and take a ride on
In front of the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History, a Civil War reenactment took place during the day, while Southern Belles played period games and decorated holiday cards. The museum also had free admission.
Davis said this was the second year that the Christmas festival, which is put on by the city’s parks and recreation department, was combined with the tree lighting.
“You already had the event, and it made sense to combine the two instead of having people come out a second time,” she said.
Davis said the event probably drew a couple thousand people over the course of the day. With a high of 70 degrees, the outdoor festival, which also included food and craft vendors, was appealing.
“This is the warmest it’s been in some time,” she said. “When it’s warm like this it gives people a great opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities.”
Mark and Leisha Hullum of Kennesaw brought their two daughters to the event. They girls had already gone down the Snow Tube and were in line again.
“Me and my wife are from New York, Connecticut, so we don’t get too much of the community events,” Mark Hullum said. “Your kids can run around and you don’t have to worry about them.”