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Decking the halls
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A family tradition took place once again the evening of Nov. 30, when residents gathered in front of City Hall and watched the large Christmas tree light up in the night sky.

Mayor James Grogan and Councilman Chris Gaines were on hand to help Dawsonville welcome the holiday season. I think that its an important event that brings our community together, and allows families to interact with each other and enjoy a good time, Gaines said.

The dancers of Cummings Sole Impulse Dance Studio, including the Synergy competition team that appeared on the TLC show Down South Dance, entertained the crowd along with Vanessa Cox and the Dawson County High School Chamber Singers.

In fact, the Chamber Singers got to sing for the important guest of the hour, Santa Claus, who opted out of reindeer this year and instead chose to arrive on a Dawson County fire truck.

The event has been a Dawsonville tradition for years, and has taken place in front of the current City Hall since 2005. It was a good crowd, Grogan said. We had about 150 pictures taken with Santa, and there were many more people who attended.

One thing different this year was having children get ticket numbers to line up and get their pictures taken with Santa following the events. Before, when we had everybody line up, they started lining up really early so they would miss all the festivities outside. This year, we issued tickets and didnt start the pictures until the festivities were over, Grogan said.

He added that it went more smoothly with tickets. There were people who knew they had high numbers, so they left for a short period to go and eat, and then they came back. It was a little more convenient for most people.

The pictures were a free memento of the occasion, something Gaines called a great asset to the community. Its great that we have that ability, he said.

Providing a little behind-the-scenes secret, Grogan said the lighting of the tree is his favorite part of the evening. I got to plug the lights in, he said, laughing. I had a lot of fun.

Grogan called the annual event a traditional way to bring in the holidays.

I think its a great way to kick off the Christmas season in downtown Dawsonville, he said. It really gives us a chance to come out as a community, and support the community. I would like to see a lot more of the local people come to it and participate in it, and next year we plan an even bigger and better lighting.