Parades, visits with Santa and a giving atmosphere are all in place as Bryan County prepares for the holidays.
The season kicks off Friday with the city of Richmond Hill’s 16th annual chili cook-off and Christmas tree decorating contest from 6-8 p.m. in J.F. Gregory Park. Richmond Hill’s 22nd Annual Christmas Parade starts Saturday at 10 a.m.
This year’s theme is “A Storybook Christmas.” It will begin on Maple Street and continue on Cherry Street, then down Ford Avenue to Richard Davis Drive past City Hall, finishing in J.F. Gregory Park.
The grand marshal this year will be Bonnie Proctor, who has been part of the planning committee for the Great Ogeechee Seafood Festival since it began.
The Richmond Hill High School marching band will hold its holiday craft fair from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at St. Anne’s Catholic Church, featuring live entertainment and gifts, with coffee and donuts available starting at 8 a.m.
Also on Friday night, Bryan County will host an outdoor movie night from 6-9 p.m. at Henderson Park featuring “Frozen” and will do the same on Dec. 8 at Hendrix Park. Both events will include a visit from Santa from 6 to 6:30 p.m.
Pembroke’s 34th Annual Christmas Parade is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 9, immediately followed by the Christmas tree lighting. Vendors will be open beginning at 2 p.m.
This year’s grand marshals are sisters Jeanne McCormick and Mary Anna Hite of Pembroke Advanced Communications.
City Clerk Sharroll Fanslau said this is the first time the city will hold the parade in the evening.
“The floats can be lighted, but we have some restrictions on how loud the generators can be,” she said. “It will look nice all lit up in the dark but we want people to be able to still hear the bands and announcements.”
Also on Dec. 9, the Richmond Hill Fire Department will host “Breakfast with Santa” at the Ford Avenue station and nearby senior center. The event runs from 8-11 a.m. and includes pictures with Santa, crafts and a bouncy house.
Bryan County Emergency Services will host a similar event from 9 a.m. to noon on Dec. 16 at Station No. 7, located on Highway 204 in Ellabell.
The cities of Pembroke and Richmond Hill are both once again participating in the Georgia Municipal Association’s Mayors’ Christmas Motorcade, which collects gifts for Georgia hospital patients with developmental disabilities and behavioral health needs. Items can be dropped off at either city hall through Dec. 5.
Finally, firefighters will be bringing Santa to several neighborhoods around the county again this year. These appearances will begin around 6 p.m. but are subject to change depending on availability. They will be collecting unwrapped presents to be distributed through Bryan County Family Connection. Please check the respective departments’ Facebook pages for any schedule changes.
The schedule for Bryan County Emergency Services is:
Dec. 3: Oxford, Cove, Fort McAllister, Bryan Acres, Clarktown, Lindsey Drive, Dixie, Daniel Siding, Baily Plantation, Hope Creek, Shuman, Kelly Davis, Oak Hill.
Dec. 4: Buckhead, Tranquilla Hall, Keller Crossing, Buckhead North.
Dec. 5: Bow Ridge, Laurel Grove, Wicklow, Dunham Marsh, Waterways, Lincoln Estates, Belle Island, Demeries Lake.
Dec. 6: Sweet Hill, Magnolia Marsh, Heron Point, Marsh Harbor, Oak Point, Bluffs, Waterford Landing, Jerico, Belfast.
Dec. 7: Strathy Hall, Holly Hill, Buckhead East.
The schedule for the Richmond Hill Fire Department is:
Dec. 4: Plantation Apartments, Teal Lake, Cypress Pointe.
Dec. 5: Turtle Hill, Richmond Hill Plantation (Timber Trail side).
Dec. 6: Richmond Hill Plantation (golf course side), River Oaks.
Dec. 7: Melrose, the Bottoms.
Dec. 8: Main Street.
Dec. 12: White Oak, Live Oak.
Dec. 13: Richmond Place, Blueberry.
Dec. 14: Piercefield Forest.
Dec. 18: Sterling Creek, Brisbon Hall.
Dec. 19: Sterling Woods, Creekside.
Dec. 20: Richmond Heights, Ashton Apartments, Buckeye Plantation.
Dec. 21: Ponderosa, Mulberry, Rushing Street.