Citizens keep busy with holiday events

Published 10:15 pm Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas celebrations are kicking off in full swing all over the area with many opportunities for family fun.

Kids will be at no loss for opportunities to whisper their last-minute wishes in Santa’s ear.

In Southampton County, Santa, Frosty and Rudolph will be on hand at the Airfield 4-H Center from 7:15 a.m. to10 a.m on Dec. 13. While there, children also can get their faces painted and munch gingerbread men.

Tonight at 5:30, Mrs. Santa and the Elves will stroll down Main Street for the Downtown Franklin Association’s Elf Parade. Santa is scheduled to meet them for the city Christmas Tree lighting at 6 p.m.

“People will be interested to know that we have a real Christmas tree and not just that holly like we’ve had in years past,” said Jack Norvell, president of the Downtown Franklin Association.

Norvell encouraged people to participate in the festivities.

“It will be a good night for socializing with neighbors and meeting new friends,” he said. “There will be plenty for the children to do as well.”

The Downtown Franklin Christmas Parade will commence on Saturday morning at 11. According to organizer Frank Davis, more than 30 entrants have signed on to participate in the event.

“We are looking for everyone to come out and have a good time,” he said.

Davis said Santa will definitely make an appearance and may be available to take pictures after he finishes traveling the parade route.

Santa also can be found dining out at Applebee’s several times during the Christmas season. On Saturday, Dec. 13, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., the Franklin Junior Women’s Club will host a $5 pancake breakfast with Santa and his elves as the guest of honor. Tickets are available from any club member.

Applebee’s Manager Felicia Vinn said that in addition to the Women’s Club breakfast, Santa would also make two dinner appearances at the restaurant — once Tuesday, Dec.16 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and again Saturday, Dec. 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

“We will have pictures with Santa and a magician on-hand to perform for the kids,” Vinn said. “The children will also get their meals for half price.”

Other places Santa can be spotted include:

Ruth Camp Campbell Library at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10 and and Rawls Library in Courtland at 6 p.m. on Dec.11. Both appearances are sponsored by the Franklin Southampton County United Way and a donation of a canned or nonperishable item is requested.

Doug Chesson of the 4-H Airfield says their “Christmas in the Country” dinner concert is the best holiday deal in town.

“Families can get a lot of value out of participating in this event,” he said. “There’s good music and good food for under $18. You can’t beat that.”

“Christmas in the Country” begins with a social 5 p.m. Sunday and continues with dinner. Special music will be provided by Ami Ferreby and Nann Seeley and her Tower Ringers. Adult admission is $17.95 while children 4-8 are $8.95.

Merchants also are getting in on the Christmas spirit by hosting several events designed to show appreciation for clients.

On Wednesday, Southern Charm Garden Center hosted the Chamber of Commerce’s Business After Hours. Area business leaders were encouraged to shop for Christmas trees, ornaments and other gifts while sampling seasonal treats.

Smith Jewelers held its annual “Ladies Night” Wednesday, as well. The ladies were served wine as they picked out prized pieces they hoped to see under the tree on Christmas morning.

Leahann Williams said folks look forward to this event.

“Everyone who comes out really has fun,” Williams said. “The ladies can pick out what jewelry they would like for Christmas and, as a courtesy, we send their husbands or boyfriends a letter with their picks.”

Upcoming events include the annual Island Tan Christmas Open House from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Co-owner Melinda Dan, says the event is usually one of the busiest days of the year.

“Our customers come in because we offer some of our best discounts so they stock up on a lot of products,” she said. “They also enjoy all of the prizes we give out.”

Dan says door prizes will be handed out every 30 minutes and a grand prize also is planned.

“We will be giving out a year’s worth of free tanning to one lucky customer,” she said.

Check out the “It’s Happening Here” page on A4 for more events taking place during the Christmas season.