By Valerie Baldowski
Locust Grove will host its fifth annual "Christmas In The Grove" celebration Dec. 5, from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., in the city's downtown area.
"Well over 1,000 people attended last year, and we expect the same kind of crowd this year," said Ken Rivers, a local merchant involved in this year's program.
The event is sponsored by the City of Locust Grove, and the Locust Grove Better Hometown Board, said Rivers, who is the Hometown Board's chairman.
A parade down Cleveland Street will launch the event, Rivers said, and will include floats, a marching band, and an appearance by Santa Claus riding in an old-fashioned fire truck. The event will also feature games, a snowman beanbag toss, face painting, a rock-climbing wall and inflatables.
Food and craft activities will also be available. Pictures with Santa will be available for $5.
Cleveland Street will be closed off for the event.
The activities are aimed at generating more foot traffic through the area, Rivers said.
"A train will pick children up and give them a short ride around Cleveland Street, and a hay ride will be available for more adventurous children to travel down Carter Avenue," continued Rivers.
"This event is held in conjunction with the downtown merchants' open house, which they have done on the first Saturday of December for many years," said Rivers, owner of R&M Insurance on Ga. Highway 42. "[It] is designed to draw families to the downtown area for a free event, and to visit some of the local merchants."