For those not wishing to cap their Thanksgiving weekend with combat shopping at the mall, two towns in Elbert County commenced their Christmas season with family-friendly alternatives.
Elizabeth began the afternoon of Nov. 29 with An Olde Country …
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Elizabeth began the afternoon of Nov. 29 with An Olde Country Christmas on East Main Street and the holiday events continued into the evening with Kiowa’s Eighth Annual Lighting of the Lights Seasonal Celebration.
Though separate events, the Elizabeth Area Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Kiowa coordinated the timing, so the festivities’ main events did not overlap.
Elizabeth kicked off its holiday celebration Saturday afternoon at the Olde Hotel Square with the Victorian-clad A Bit o’ Dickens Carolers entertaining visitors. With arrival of Saint Nick, Mayor H. Clay Hurst invited everyone to join him and Santa in the square for a tree-lighting ceremony.
“Don’t be shy,” the mayor encouraged. “I know Santa is a nice guy.”
Following a countdown and the tree lighting, little ones lined up for pictures with Santa. Hot dogs, sodas and hot coffee were available from L’Roast Bucket.
Kiowa’s start to the holiday season began with the Elbert County Coalition for Outreach’s thrift store sale in the Lion’s Club Building. Forty shoppers lined up before the doors opened to take advantage of the 50 percent-off pricing. By 4:30, the store’s staff had served more than 150 customers.
“For some of our customers,” director Pam Witucki said, “this is the only Christmas shopping they can or will do this year.”
The basement of the Lions Club building was open for children’s games and crafts. Visitors were also encouraged to bring a nonperishable food item to help neighbors in need. ECCO is a nonprofit organization founded in 2006 and serves as a contact point for local resources. The organization also sponsors educational workshops, providing life tools to the community.
With his reindeer still in training for their big night, Santa’s arrival at the town hall that evening was courtesy of the Kiowa Fire District’s pumper truck. Mayor Jason Kerbs along with his special guest from the North Pole presided over the Eighth Annual Lighting of the Lights from the Kiowa Town Hall steps.
Following a few quick words of appreciation to the business and members of the community, the switch was flipped, lighting the town hall and the two 60-foot trees growing in the lawn.
Following the lighting, the gathering of nearly 200 moved from town hall down Comanche Street to Patty Anns Café, where Angie Hooper opened the doors to her restaurant, with a serving counter laden with complimentary treats like meatballs rolled with bacon, chicken wings, three different soups and chips.
While Santa set up shop in the back dining room to hear Christmas wishes and pose for pictures, Hooper’s staff darted through the capacity crowd clearing plates, filling coffee and soda cups, and delivering cups of hot chocolate topped with whipped cream.
“It gets bigger every year,” Hooper said.
When asked how many people she planned for, Hooper responded with a shrug and said, “I don’t. I’m Italian. If a little is good, a lot is better. But this may be the first year I’ve run out of food.”Chris Rotar
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