GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Nov. 16, 2021) – Christmas will come early in 2021, just as it does every year for the City of Gainesville.
Brought to you by Main Street Gainesville, Christmas on Green Street 2021 is slated for 4-7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5, along historic Green Street near downtown Gainesville.
“It’s such a blessing to have our outdoor holiday events back on the calendar this year,” said Main Street Manager Nicole Ricketts. “We’re overjoyed to have a sense of community spirit as we celebrate the wonder of Christmas together in this favorite Gainesville tradition.”
Although Main Street offered in 2020 a “reverse parade” for select families in the form of Light Up the Town – a creative effort to deliver Christmas cheer during the coronavirus pandemic – the community favorite has been missed, especially the traditional parade, Rotary Tree lighting and open houses spotlighting the City’s rich history along Green Street.
“After 2020’s non-traditional year as we battled through the first year of the pandemic, we are thrilled to bring back this favorite holiday celebration in one of the most beautiful spots in Gainesville – historic downtown Gainesville,” Ricketts said.
Christmas on Green Street Parade
The parade will step off at 4 p.m. down Green Street, a map of which will be released closer to the event.
“Santa will end the parade on the big red fire truck, then will magically appear over at The Norton Agency for a meet-and-greet and photos with visitors,” Ricketts said, from about 5:15-7 p.m.
At this time, Main Street is looking forward to welcoming around 50 floats/entries by groups such as the Gainesville High School Marching Band, Jackson EMC, American Cancer Society, Humane Society of Northeast Georgia and Interactive Neighborhood for Kids, among many others.
“This year, we’re featuring a bicentennial theme in honor of Gainesville’s 200th birthday Nov. 30!” Ricketts said. “We hope to see some creative float representations from Gainesville’s history.”
Prizes will be awarded to first-, second- and third-place floats in the following categories: Best Parade Float – Bicentennial Theme, Best Parade Float – Most Creative and Best Festive Antique Car.
Main Street is accepting online applications and fees here for parade float entries through Monday, Nov. 22. Businesses, nonprofits and groups of all kinds can apply to put a float, antique car or walking group in the parade.
Motorists should be mindful City staff will close Green Street and side streets by 2 p.m. that day, and that they’ll need to scope out alternate routes ahead of time.
“The parade typically goes for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how many entries sign up,” Ricketts said. “The parade route will start on historic Green Street near the Gainesville Civic Center, go all the way down to E.E. Butler Parkway and end at the corner of Spring Street, where the parade will exit north toward the Brenau campus.”
Green Street open houses
Following the parade, soak up the crisp holiday atmosphere and visit beautifully decorated businesses and organizations along historic Green Street, many of which will host open houses with refreshments, entertainment and character meet-and-greets, plus a few other Christmas surprises.
“All homes are offering different things,” Ricketts said. “As we confirm music and refreshments with each home, we’ll post a layout map on the website and social media the week of the event, so be looking for that!”
Entertainment along historic Green Street will include, but isn’t limited to: Enota Elementary School at Strong, Gaddy, Lee Wealth Management; Davis Middle School and Flowery Branch High School choirs at Whitmer & Law; Alicats Dance and More at Hasty Pope Davies LLP; singer Starr Phipps at Southern Realty; and at the Gainesville Civic Center, a free movie inside the ballroom, plus a petting zoo, cookies and hot cocoa. Carriage and train rides will also be available.
The food truck court returns in 2021, and will be open to the public from 3-7 p.m. in the parking lot by 311 Green St. NW.
Lighting of the Rotary Tree
The cherry on top of the dessert that is Christmas on Green Street? The annual Lighting of the Rotary Tree!
Rotary Club of Gainesville will coordinate the lighting, with a ceremony starting at 6:45 p.m. The tree is expected to be lit by 7 p.m.
The Rotary Tree’s lighting will signal the end of Christmas on Green Street 2021.
Thanks to our sponsors!
Main Street, along with the City of Gainesville, wishes to thank the following event sponsors: Smith Hulsey Law, parade featured sponsor; Lakeview Academy, gingerbread house sponsor; Brenau University, gingerbread house sponsor; Strong Gaddy Lee Wealth Management, Santa Claus sponsor; and Center for Advanced Research & Education, carolers sponsor.
If interested in becoming a Christmas on Green Street sponsor, please reach out to Ricketts ASAP via contact form.