BREAKING: Georgia Supreme Court upholds Dawson County man’s conviction for Hannah Bender’s 2019 murder
The district attorney recognized the "horrific” nature of Bender’s death, thanking those involved in the judicial process and stating that “justice was well served” in the case.
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Christmas takes center stage
4 Christmas Parade pic1
Harmony Church won Best of Class in the parades church category with a float that aims to remind attendees that Christ is the reason for the season. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News

Sleigh bells were ringing and children were singing in Dawsonville's second annual Christmas parade that took over the downtown streets Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds lined Hwy. 53 from Goodson's Drugs to the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame for a chance to see elaborately decorated floats, grab some sweet treats and wave at Santa as he rode by in a fire engine on the way to the city's Christmas tree lighting spectacle.

Now in its second year, the parade is held by the Dawson County Chamber of Commerce and office of tourism development.

With constant rain the night before and lingering showers throughout the day, there was much speculation if all the hard work by parade participants would be in vain.

But then, with just moments left before the parade was set to start at 4:30 p.m., the clouds parted and made way for blue skies.

"Despite the uncertain weather, we had a great time getting in the Christmas spirit with our community," said Christie Haynes, chamber of commerce president. "We are so grateful to all of those who participated and came out to watch the Christmas Parade this year."

Groups arrived into town early on Saturday afternoon to decorate their floats for the contest in hopes of taking home trophies.

Winners were announced later that evening during the city's Christmas celebration and tree lighting ceremony.

Best of Parade was awarded to the Rotary Club of Dawson County for its Hawaiian-themed float that paid tribute to Rotary Island, a waterpark the club built at Rock Creek Park that reopens for the summer in less than 140 days.

"It's cold and windy today, but in about 138 days, it's going to be hot in Dawsonville and Rotary Island will be the place to cool off," said Scott Yochum, club president. "Rotary Island is for all the kids in Dawson County, and we can't wait to see them running through the sprinklers when it reopens for the summer."

The Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia Troop #10875 also took home a top prize for winning the Most Creative float, which showed the girls depicted a variety of different activities and projects they can do to earn badges.

"We are continually impressed by the talent in our community and will continue to seek ways to share these talents and build community spirit," Haynes said.

The holiday festivities continued throughout the evening with visits and complimentary photos with Santa, cookie decorating and live entertainment, all leading up to the city of Dawsonville lighting its grand tree outside city hall.

Dawsonville Mayor James Grogan said city officials and staff are excited each year to hold the Christmas celebration.

"We are still a small community when you get down to it, and I just appreciate all of you coming out, enjoying the coffee, the cider and the hot chocolate," he said. "This is something we like to do every year to give our residents a free Christmas event that everyone can enjoy."