With a chill in the air, the changing color of the leaves and the carving of turkey, we take a look at the coming 2012 holiday season.
Towns in Richmond County are preparing special events, from holiday parades to community get togethers to sing around the Christmas tree.
The City of Rockingham will be celebrating its 16th annual Christmas on the Square from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The city will participate with the Richmond County Chapter Toys for Tots to accept donations at Harrington Square in downtown Rockingham. There will be arts, crafts, entertainment and food as well as fun for the whole family.
A free Kid’s Zone will be available with a Super Slide, Castle Jump, Climbing Rock Wall and a train. Let the kids experience the petting zoo and pony rides while the adults enjoy a pet or car show. Santa will also be there, making his lists and visiting children.
Entertainment will include the Richmond Senior High Chorus, Mt. Sinai Praise Team, Roberdel Praise Team, the Hamlet Middle School Honor Choir and Rene’s Step To It.
Ellerbe Hometown Christmas will be celebrated on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 8 p.m. downtown. There will be a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the park below Town Hall, and folks can enjoy live entertainment by the fire department when they take a shopping break.
The fire department will be open for visitors and other businesses will offer door prizes and refreshments. There will be free admission to Rankin Museum and children can visit Santa at his workshop.
For under the Christmas tree, shoppers can find homemade crafts and can enjoy a jingle bell hayride. There will also be story time at Kemp Memorial Library. For questions, contact the committee at 919-260-3754.
The Hamlet Christmas Parade begins at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, but it wouldn’t hurt to get there at 3 or earlier.
The floats will meet up at the fairground in Hamlet, and walkers and cars will meet up at the Depot. The procession will travel up Main Street, onto Rice Street, then Charlotte Street back to Raleigh Street and back to the fairground.
The Hamlet Rotary Club has put on the annual yuletide parade for more than 30 years. Included in the procession are many professional floats, sponsored by area businesses.
The most popular float never fails to be the Santa float, sponsored by Sandhills Regional Medical Center — and that’s where the candy is, always a favorite part of any parade for youngsters.
Parade entry forms may be picked up from BB&T in Hamlet, Hamlet City Hall and the Hamlet Visitor’s Center. All entry forms will be due by Dec. 1. Contact Reba Dille, parade chairman, at 910-582-6795 for more information.
“Hamlet’s 5th Annual Old Fashioned Christmas” begins on Friday. Dec. 7, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Hamlet Avenue.
Santa himself will be there on his 1953 Farmall tractor. Free horse and buggy rides will be available. Folks can tour the National RR Museum and Hall of Fame.
Entertainment will include: DJ Jimmy Reese, The Butterflies Praise Team, Beth McDonald, Vicky Daniels, Charles Ellerbe, and Bob Dotson on guitar.
The evening includes a live nativity scene at First Baptist Church on Hamlet Avenue. Many businesses will be open and serving refreshments, hot chocolate, cookies and candy. At Hamlet City Lake there will be a parade of boats.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, from 5:30 to 9 p.m., Main Street will come alive in the spirit of the holiday season. Folks can ride the “Duck Express” train to see Santa and Mrs. Claus. There will be free horse and buggy rides, and tours of the Railroad Museum & Annex. Come out and see the famous train depot decked out in “Victorian Christmas splendor.”
Performing at the Depot: Backlash Bluegrass, St. Mary’s Gospel Choir, Sue Jarvis, Brass Quintet, Links Barbershop Quartet, Danny Infantino and Seren Lyerly.
You might get lucky if you spot Santa downtown Hamlet, because you could win $500. Santa will be hidden around downtown, in shops and in the museums. From Dec. 3-7 and from Dec. 10-12, you can look for Santa, and when you find him, you’ll get a ticket. Turn three tickets in at the Hamlet Visitors Center to be entered in a drawing for $500 cash. Clues will be posted daily on the Hamlet Depot & Museum’s Facebook page and tweeted @Hamlet_Depot. Clues will also be posted daily on the Cafe on Main Facebook page. The drawing will take place on Dec. 15 and the winner will be announced that day.