GAINESVILLE, Ga. (Nov. 15, 2023) – If you need a sign that it’s acceptable to break out the Christmas decorations, look no further – the City of Gainesville’s official kick-off to the holiday season happens this Saturday, Nov. 18, in the form of Jingle Mingle and the Lighting of the Chicken.
An annual event hosted by Main Street Gainesville, Jingle Mingle is slated for 4-8 p.m. on the historic and Roosevelt squares in downtown Gainesville. The event will also mark the City’s fourth annual Festival of Trees event, held at the same time in the Gainesville Administration Building: https://www.gainesville.org/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=505
“As one of the Southeast’s quirkiest, fun, family-friendly events, Jingle Mingle is the perfect way to start your holiday season here in the Poultry Capital of the World!” said Main Street Manager Nicole Parham. “The downtown square, alive with holiday spirit, will feature activities and offerings centered around the lighting of Gainesville’s 25-foot, 1,500-pound metal chicken sculpture atop Main Street Market.”
Well before the Lighting of the Chicken Ceremony at 6:45 p.m., Santa Claus will arrive at 5 p.m. on a fire engine (thank you, Gainesville Fire Department!) to take photos with the community's youth. Santa and his talented team of photographers will be positioned at the center of the historic square until 8 p.m. Be sure to write your letter to Santa while you wait – a table with all the supplies will be open to children just before they reach the front of the line.
From 4-6:30 p.m., attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy the following activities: kiddie train rides; carriage rides; photos, visits with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear; open houses at local business on the square; s’more stations manned by the fire department; an inflatable slide; and more! Be sure to visit the Roosevelt Square Local Stage where the following performers will be making spirits even brighter: emcee jB JAMS Entertainment & Events, 4-8 p.m.; Balthazar Gradin, 4 p.m.; Young Singers of Northeast Georgia, 5:30 p.m.; and Elevate Performing Arts Center, 6 p.m. The Brenau University Department of Dance will also make an appearance at the lighting ceremony.
New this year, stop by the Adopt-A-Shop Tree and grab a #SupportSmallBusiness Wishlist to support your favorite downtown Gainesville business in 2023! Everyone who participates will be entered into a drawing for a downtown Gainesville bundle basket containing over $500 worth of merchandise, goods and services. Learn more about this inaugural effort here.
Be sure to visit the Main Street tent where City staff will be selling the coveted 2023 Jingle Mingle T-shirt, City ornaments, plus other merry Main Street- and Gainesville-branded merch.
Find free and covered parking at any one of the following downtown parking decks, all located within walking distance to the holiday fun: Main Street Parking Deck, 301 Main St.; Gainesville North Parking Deck, 100 Brenau Ave.; and Hall County Parking Facility, 225 Green St.
Please note parking immediately around the square will become unavailable starting at 5 a.m. Nov. 18. Main Street will close at 1 p.m., followed by Spring, Bradford and Washington streets at 2 p.m. To allow for carriage rides traveling northwest from the corner of Bradford and Washington streets, Brenau Avenue and Green Street will be partially closed.
For additional details, "Like" and follow @DowntownGainesvilleGA on Facebook or visit exploregainesville.org.