One of the first offerings will be Thursday, Dec. 5, as the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority’s official lighting of the Christmas tree will be held in conjunction with the Cartersville-Bartow County Exchange Club Christmas Parade. At 4 p.m., the tree illumination ceremony will begin at Friendship Plaza beside the Cartersville train depot.
“Cartersville Downtown Development Authority/Main Street Program really kind of build up all the excitement even before the lighting of the tree,” said Tara Currier, manager for the Cartersville DDA. “We welcome various groups to come in and we have dance demonstrations. We’re actually going to have a church choir performing some holiday songs this year. We’ll have Santa out here and kids can do free photo ops with him.
“Parents just bring their own camera, so that’s always a lot of fun just seeing the kids get to see Santa and meet him. Then right at 5:59 p.m., so just before the official start of the parade, we’ll have our mayor pro tem and actually one of the winners of the chamber’s essay on why students are going to ‘Buy Bartow’ this holiday season ... light that tree. ... So it’s fun to just do a countdown, and certainly all the kids and adults too just get really excited to see all those great lights come on at once.”
The 50-foot Japanese Cryptomeria will be illuminated just as the Christmas parade is starting its route through downtown Cartersville.
After lining up at the Tabernacle Baptist Church parking lot at 4 p.m., the parade participants will depart at 6 p.m., turning right on Church Street, left on Bartow Street, left on Main Street, left on Stonewall Street, left on Church Street, right on Tennessee Street and then return to Tabernacle Baptist. If the parade is rained out, it will be rescheduled for Dec. 12.
Area residents are encouraged to enter a non-commercial or commercial float or vehicle in the parade by Nov. 30. Proceeds from the parade — donations to the bucket brigade at the beginning of the event and entrance fees ranging from $50 to $200 — will benefit Advocates for Children and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Bartow County.
“Just a few years ago, the Cartersville Downtown Development Authority did decide to move the tree lighting to the same night as the Christmas parade,” Currier said. “Anyone from Cartersville/Bartow County knows just what an exciting event that that Christmas parade is. The Exchange Club does a great job. There’s already just so many people down here and everyone’s in the Christmas spirit and excited.
“I think moving the tree lighting to coincide with that event was a wise choice. People do get excited and want to make sure they know [the] exact time that it’s going to be lit so that they can gather down here in the plaza and see that just before they get in their spots to watch the parade come through.”
For more information about the parade or to obtain an application, visit www.cartersvilleexchange.com or call 770-608-7009.
Advocates for Children also will benefit from the second annual Jingle Jog, which will precede the Christmas Parade on Thursday evening. At 5:30 p.m., participants dressed in festive attire will jog the 1.4-mile parade route.
Proceeds from the Jingle Jog fun run will support Advocates, which serves more than 2,600 area youth each year through the Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter and providing services that assist in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
Since about 55 percent of Advocates’ annual more than $1.7 million budget is raised by the local community, benefits like the Jingle Jog are integral to the nonprofit’s success.
To register for the event, visit www.AdvoChild.org or call 770-387-1143. If participants sign up by Monday, entrance fees will be $25 per person. People also can register for $30 on Dec. 5, 4 p.m., at Tabernacle Baptist Church’s gravel parking lot.
‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’
Along with performing at Cartersville’s tree lighting ceremony, Fusion Dance Company will present “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. at Friendship Plaza. The outdoor production will highlight the company’s Infused Performance Group and feature about 30 dancers.
“When you think of the ‘Grinch,’ it’s just a fun, exciting [story],” said Fusion Dance Company Director Kasey Ashworth, adding the presentation will consist of various types of dance, including lyrical, ballet, jazz and hip-hop. “Whether it’s the movie or the musical or you’re reading the book, it brings a smile to your face. ... The whole show is narrated by the book. So we have a narrator that will be reading the book and then we also have the Grinch, Cindy Lou and Max and then everyone else are Whos of Whoville. So during different stanzas of the book the kids will act out and then also perform dances as well.
“... I chose [the outdoor venue] because we have done a lot of performances there so the kids are used to the area and that’s right in front of our studio. On top of that, I thought we could kind of create the Whoville atmosphere better. So we have created a set for it. We’ll be selling hot chocolate. There will be blankets and pillows. We just really wanted to create this wintery atmosphere that you experience in the movie.”
Tickets for “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” which are an optional $4 donation, are available at Fusion Dance Company, 13 Public Square in Cartersville, from Monday through Thursday, 3:30 to 8 p.m. For more information, call 404-358-4403.
On Dec. 14 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Cartersville DDA and Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce will encourage area residents to shop locally during the Hometown Christmas offering. Along with seeing what downtown Cartersville merchants have to offer, participants also will be able to enjoy a wide array of entertainment.
“This will be the second year in a row we’ve partnered with the Chamber of Commerce on Hometown Christmas,” Currier said. “It’s really just meant to recreate that nostalgic feeling of going to your downtown for the holidays. So we’re going to have a variety of dance and choral demonstrations and band performances from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. that day. Santa will be available for free photo opportunities.
“It’s just an opportunity for people to come and enjoy camaraderie with one another and just friendship and fellowship and certainly to patronize these downtown businesses and finish up any holiday shopping you might have as well.”
For more information about Hometown Christmas and other Cartersville DDA-related events, call 770-607-3480.