In Richmond Hill:
• Chili Cook-Off, 6:30 p.m. Friday.
• Parade, 10 a.m. Saturday
• Boat parade, dusk Saturday
•Fireworks following boat parade
• Tree lighting, 5 p.m. Saturday
• Festival, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 8
• Parade, 11 a.m. Dec. 8.
Residents in Bryan County looking for some holiday cheer can find it in both Pembroke and Richmond Hill this weekend.
Richmond Hill’s holiday events begin at 6:30 p.m. Friday with the 11th annual Chili Cook-off, which will feature scores of organizations offering up mouth-watering chili and other treats.
According to cook-off committee member Jennifer McCorkle, more than 25 vendors will set up shop under the pavilion in J.F. Gregory Park.
“We’re pretty much booked and feeling pretty good about it,” she said. “We’ve got everybody in place, the workers and vendors are lined up. From what I’m hearing the weather is supposed to clear up and be nice, so we’re expecting a good turnout.”
Also during the event, Santa and Mrs. Claus will make a stop to visit with children and take Christmas wishes. Numerous other activities including free pony rides, hayrides, a Christmas movie, face painting, a bouncy house and more will also be available in the park.
“We welcome everybody to come out support local vendors and local businesspeople,” McCorkle said. “It’ll be a lot of fun, there will be a lot of chili — it’s something for everybody, so come out have a good time and celebrate Christmas with us.”
Festivities continue at 10 a.m. Saturday with Richmond Hill’s 16th annual Hometown Christmas Parade, which is themed “Toys on Parade.” According to parade committee member Nancy Frye, between 70 and 80 floats from churches and local organizations, marching bands and more will travel down Ford Avenue and Richard Davis Drive to entertain the crowd.
This year’s parade grand marshal is Vietnam veteran Donald Singleton, a Richmond Hill native who is a member of various veteran-related organizations. Singleton has also been active in many Veterans Day and Memorial Day observances in the city.
While officials expect a good crowd, Frye said those who can’t make it to the parade or may be out of town can watch the parade live Saturday on WGSA. The parade will also be aired throughout the Christmas weekend.
Saturday evening, residents on both ends of the county will have Christmas events to look forward to. In South Bryan, the annual Christmas on the Ogeechee Boat Parade and fireworks display presented by Offshore Outlaws Fishing Club will begin at dusk at the Fort McAllister Marina.
In Pembroke, the annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. in the downtown area near the Pembroke Police Department. The event will feature Christmas carols from local singers, prayer and a short Scripture reading and culminate with the lighting of the tree.
Christmas events in Pembroke continue Dec. 8 with the 29th annual Pembroke Christmas Parade and Festival sponsored by Bryan County 4-H. The event will feature the parade, which begins at 11 a.m., entertainment, car and bike show, children’s activities and various vendors, which will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., according to Bryan County Extension Coordinator Shanna Waters Davis.
Davis said there are more than 60 entries in the parade including churches, businesses, beauty queens, dance troops, local dignitaries, Fort Stewart Color Guard and marching unit, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, antique tractors, marching bands and more. Santa will also be available for photos at the Pembroke Welcome Center after the parade. All parade entrants will be judged by out-o- town judges, Davis added.
This year’s parade grand marshal is Marion Page.
“She just seems to promote agriculture in our community, she is active with community service and she’s definitely a leader,” Davis said. “She has been an advocate for the 4-H program, and this is our annual 4-H fundraiser.”
Page could not be reached for comment by presstime.
Local entertainment for the day includes Corey Smith, Byron Hatcher and Michelle Aspen, who all have recording contracts in Nashville, Tenn., and many others, Davis said.
Vendors offering up food, Christmas decorations, homemade clothing, wood furniture and crafts and more are also on tap for the event.
Davis said the parade committee is expecting a great turnout.
“We’re excited that it’s been so smooth,” she said. “We look forward to this being one of the best parades and festivals we’ve had in the past few years. If the weather cooperates with us, we’re sure it’ll go off without a hitch.”
For more information about events in Richmond Hill, visit the Richmond Hill Chili Cook-off and Parade Facebook page at on.fb.me/V4lYMC or call 756-3641.
For more information about events in Pembroke, call 653-2231.