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Local shopping and festivities this holiday
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With Thanksgiving just a day away, the holiday season is officially in full swing. As the community comes together to enjoy this time of year, Bryan County has festivities lined up throughout the next few weeks to help everyone celebrate. Events are scheduled throughout Bryan and surrounding counties, with local businesses looking to fill all those holiday shopping needs.

To help kick off the season, the Richmond Hill Hometown Celebration will be next weekend, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2, and the Pembroke Festival and Parade will be Saturday, Dec. 8.

"I think we are going to have a weekend filled with activities," said Richmond Hill Community Developer Jan Bass. "There will be lots of things for kids and family to do together at this year’s Hometown Celebration."

Bass said this year’s 12th annual celebration will be very similar to last year’s – with a couple additions.

"This year, the Nutcracker Tea and the Tour of Homes events are included in the weekend festivities," she said, noting that Tour of Homes happens every other year. "The weekend really kicks off the holiday season the right way."

The Richmond Hill parade’s Grand Marshal is Margaret Davis Fennell Judy.

"I was so honored to be chosen for the Grand Marshal," she said. "I think the name of the parade, Magical Christmas, is just wonderful."

Bass said the community needs to get busy sending in their applications; the deadline is Tuesday, Nov. 27 for the chili cook-off and Wednesday, Nov. 28 to apply for a float in the Christmas parade.

Bryan County Chambers are promoting that the community think locally when planning their holiday shopping spree(s).

"I encourage people to shop here because when you do, you’re supporting not only Bryan County’s local economy, but also your neighbors and friends," said Richmond Hill Chamber of Commerce Director Kittie Franklin.

"If you shop outside of your community, you aren’t necessarily guaranteed to find that customized, friendly service you’ll find here in the local business district," she said.

"Shop local first," said North Bryan Chamber of Commerce President Mary Warnell. "I really would encourage people to shop locally and support the businesses in North Bryan."

Warnell also encouraged the community to get involved with Pembroke’s annual Christmas parade and festival, which will include a large number of local vendors.

"It’s usually a very large local turnout and a fun day for everyone," she said.

Barbara DuBose, of 4-H who is in charge of the festival committee, said 4-H has been very busy preparing for the big Christmas kickoff. They, along with the city of Pembroke, co-sponsor the event.

"It is our 24th parade. In the beginning, it was just a couple of cars that drove through town – the 4-H wanted a parade in Pembroke, and that’s how it started," Dubose said.

Dubose said the Grand Marshal for the day is going to be Johnnie Miller, who was selected by the committee. Miller could not be reached as of Tuesday afternoon.

"We’re planning a great festival," she said. "We’re hoping to have somewhere around 70 booths – with all types of items for sale, including lots of Christmas gift ideas and lots of food vendors. There will be entertainment, starting at 9 a.m. going all the way through to 4:30 p.m. on the main stage. Our announcer, Mike Foxworth, will announce the parade units, and the parade starts at 11 a.m."

Pembroke’s parade will run for about an hour and will include the Bryan County High School ROTC and band, Rusty’s Antique Relics tractors, lots of floats and marching units, dignitaries and Bryan County officials and much more.

"We’re really proud of the parade and the festival. But even more importantly, we’re proud of how much involvement we’ve gotten from the community. It would not be as good as it is without the residents coming out to support it," Dubose said.

There’s still room for more vendors and floats in the parade. Call Dubose at 653-2231 for more information.

To find out the Chambers’ business listings, visit for Richmond Hill or for Pembroke.

Check out more event listings for this holiday season in the Community Announcements section.

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