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Countdown begins

Tree lighting rings in season

POSTED: December 5, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Michele Hester Dawson Community News/

Two-year-old Marlee Harkins visits Santa as Hayley Harkins’ looks on at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame. The city of Dawsonville held a Christmas tree lighting ceremony Friday that included free hot cocoa, cider and a photo with Santa.

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Arriving by fire engine, Santa and Mrs. Claus rolled into Dawsonville on Friday night to help Mayor James Grogan light the city's Christmas tree.

"Ho, Ho, Ho," Santa said waving to the crowd of hundreds waiting for his arrival in the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame's Winner's Circle outside the Dawsonville Municipal Complex.

With dozens of anxious little ones ready to share hugs, high-fives and Christmas wish lists, Santa led the countdown to light the 36-foot tree, as Dawson County High School's Chamber Singers entertained the gathering with holiday carols.

Four-year-old Levi Karr said the tree was the biggest he had seen.

"I love that Christmas tree. Look at all the lights on that tree," he said.

Santa and Mrs. Claus then met with all the children and posed for photos inside the museum.

City officials said they were delighted to see such a great turnout for the event, which included free hot cocoa, cider and a photo with Santa to take home that night.

"I think the tree lighting is an important event for the city, because it brings out families to enjoy the evening together," said Councilman Chris Gaines. "It's a real fun time for everybody."

Grogan added that there are plans to enhance next year's tree lighting celebration.

"We're going to do some other things to it to make it even better," he said. "We're talking with another group within our city and county that would like to partner up with us and have a parade prior to the Christmas tree lighting, which would be pretty good."

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