Holiday season hitting full swing

By Michael Davis

Though there may not be much to do this Thanksgiving Day besides eating and watching hours and hours of football on television, several Clayton and Henry county groups will soon be holding special events and services.

The city of McDonough will be lighting its Christmas tree at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 29 on the town's Square. The city's "Past & Present: Celebrating 180 Years" birthday festival will be Dec. 6 on the Square and will include artists, vendors and entertainment from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. "From what I've heard, we've always had a large crowd (for the Christmas tree lighting)," said Barbara Daniell, Director of Hospitality and Tourism for McDonough.

The Henry Arts Alliance will be holding its annual "Christmas with the Arts" program Dec. 7 at 3 p.m. Performances will include 10-minute productions by the Henry Players, Atlanta Festival Ballet, the Henry Community Chorus, the Southern Crescent Barber Shop Chorus, the Southern Crescent Children's Community Theater, Exploring the Arts Summer Camp and the Visual Arts Collective, board secretary Elaine Childs said.

The program will be held at the Henry County Performing Arts Center.

David Hicks, a member and prayer room operator at Salem Baptist Church in McDonough, said the church is expecting a big crowd of members and non-members for its Christmas Eve services. The services will be Dec. 24 at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. "They always recommend members come at 8 p.m.," Hicks said. "We always have a good turnout."

The Miss Yuletide Pageant will be at Henry County High School Dec. 5 and will lead up to the Henry County Christmas Parade around the Square Dec. 6. The parade will end at Richard Craig Park.

The winners of the pageant's eight different categories will get to ride in the parade, said Wanda Thomas of Henry County High School's band boosters.

"The Miss Yuletide Pageant is always a big fund-raiser for us," Thomas said.

The Southern Crescent Symphony Orchestra, in conjunction with the Lovejoy High School and Union Grove High School choruses, will present a Family Sing-a-Long Dec. 13. Conductor Richard Bell said that 65 orchestra members and nearly 125 chorus members will be performing Christmas classics like "Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire" and "Carol of the Bells." "It's always great to hear live performances – it's a chance to hear a live Christmas orchestra in your local area," Bell said.

The orchestra and choruses will lead at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The Flint Circuit Council on Family Violence will be hosting the first Children's Christmas Gala at the Peachtree Peddlers Flea Market Event Center on Dec. 6. Beginning at 10 a.m., children will be treated to breakfast, a visit from Santa, the "Nutcracker Ballet" and storytelling. Tickets can be purchased at The Blessings Thrift Store.

Mount Bethel United Methodist Church is also hosting a Breakfast with Santa and Ms. Claus Dec. 6. Church member and organizer Marian Heeps said that the years the church has done the event in the past, they've seen 40 to 50 children attend for breakfast.

"We're going to have pancakes and sausage and orange juice, and we're going to give a puppet show," she said. "We didn't do it last year because we were building a new fellowship hall – but we're prepared now."