It truly is beginning to look a lot like Christmas, especially in Villa Rica, which has scheduled its first Christmas parade to add to the Reindeer Run, Egg Nog Jog, Mistletoe Market and tree lighting.
Those events this Saturday will be the first major activities for Janet Chumley in her new role as director of Villa Rica Main Street. Chumley assumed her new role earlier this week but has been with the city for two years with the Parks and Recreation Department in marketing and events.
Chumley said she wants to continue to bring attention to what Villa Rica’s Main Street has to offer.
“It’s just about enhancing what we already have and bringing some exciting stuff to Villa Rica,” she said.
Saturday’s holiday schedule will include an afternoon of yuletide activities, beginning with two races through Villa Rica, followed by the annual Christmas parade and ending with the lighting of the town’s Christmas Tree.
Beginning at 1:30 p.m., registration will open for the Reindeer Run 5K and the Half-Mile Egg Nog Jog at The Mill amphitheater, 106 Temple St. The race starts at 3 p.m. and registration is $20.
The Reindeer Run is a certified 5K loop course through historic streets and neighborhoods of downtown Villa Rica and is open to everyone from serious runners to recreational walkers, families and pets. Awards will be presented for the top three male and female runners in all age divisions, as well as the overall top three runners.
The Half-Mile Fun Run is for kids aged 9 and under, and curves around the central business district.
Holiday costumes are encouraged for participants in each event.
“The Mistletoe Market is an opportunity for vendors to come in and sell their items for Christmas,” Chumley said. “That is actually going to be on the Mill Amphitheater from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and the parade will start at 6 p.m. For the market, we have about 30 vendors. This is our first annual parade and that will start at Fullerville Baptist Church and then they will make their way down Main Street and end at The Mill. Then right after the parade ends, we’ll do the lighting of the Christmas t ree, which will be about 7 p.m.”
For anyone who has never experienced a Villa Rica Christmas on Main, Chumley said it is an opportunity for people to come out for Christmas and see Santa and shop and get to know the local community, support local merchants and get into the Christmas spirit.
Throughout the month of December, Villa Rica Main Street will continue its tradition of collecting for the Marine Corps Reserves Toys for Tots campaign. Residents are asked to bring new, unwrapped toys and help fill the box at 106 Temple St.
The Winter Wonderland Train ride has already begun at the Pine Mountain Gold Museum and will continue until Dec. 23. The train runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and leaves the depot every 15 minutes from 5:45 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. The staff requests that riders be at the depot at least 30 minutes prior to their scheduled boarding time. Arriving early allows the rider enough time to ensure their tickets are processed and to board the train on time.
Friday is the last day to register for Breakfast With Santa, an annual event in which kids 10 and under can visit with Santa Claus and enjoy breakfast with him on Dec. 9. Registration can be done at Gold Dust Park, 646 Industrial Boulevard. The breakfast itself is limited to the first 200 registrants and will take place from 9-11 a.m. on Dec. 9 at the Villa Rica Civic Center (better known as the V-Plex), 1605 Highway 61. Registration costs $20 for an adult and child, and each additional person is $10. The fee includes breakfast, a gift and activities.
On Dec. 13, Villa Rica merchants will have their “Rise-n-Shine Christmas Celebration” beginning at 8:15 a.m. at Uncorked on Main, 129 Main St. Advance tickets cost $5. If you pay the morning of the event the cost will be $10 at the door. Tickets may be purchased at the office of Amy L. Brown, State Farm Agent, 119 Candler St. The event is for city businesses looking to get plugged into the community.
Any business wanting to donate door prizes for this event will get “spotlight” recognition at the event.
The festive events in December come to an end on New Year’s Eve with the annual Gold Nugget Drop. The headline act to ring in 2018 will be Departure, a Journey tribute band.
The event will begin at 10 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 31, at The Mill amphitheater, 106 Temple St. VIP table seating is available for $30 (for a maximum six seats) until tables are sold out. Call 678-785-1092 to reserve a table. The event is free and will take place rain or shine.
Ken Denney of the Times-Georgian contributed to this report.