Downtown Athens is already a parade of lights- the trees lining the street are twinkling each night along with wreaths and garland. However, Thursday, December 3 marks the official start of the Christmas season in Athens with the annual downtown Christmas parade of lights. 

Over 60 floats, bands, and other groups parade through downtown streets awash in twinkling lights. The theme for the 2009 parade is "A Gift from the Heart."

The parade begins at 7 pm on the corner of Dougherty and Pulaski Streets ending in front of City Hall for the traditional tree lighting ceremony, hosted by Santa and Mrs. Claus. Start your Christmas shopping early with the Downtown Open House before the parade starts and enjoy great deals and extended hours by downtown retailers.

This is my favorite time of year, and there is no better place to celebrate than in the Classic City!