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Buford to kick off Christmas season with parade

BUFORD - To kick off the Christmas season, Buford will host its holiday parade Saturday, with festivities starting at 11 a.m.

The parade is scheduled to proceed down Main Street at 2:30 p.m. and the tree lighting will take place at 5:30.

Buford Business Alliance President Tim Koenning said he believes this year's parade will be the best yet.

"With the aid of the local schools, the city and our ever-growing membership, we are certain to bring out the crowds to celebrate this special time of the year in a memorable fashion," Koenning said.

Koenning said festivities will include stage performances, children's activities, street merchants and plenty of food. Everything will happen in Historic Buford around the amphitheater area at the end of Main Street.

Stores and restaurants will be open before festivities begin and will remain open after they have ended.

The parade, which will begin at Tannery Row and finish in front of the Bona Allen Mansion at Wilson Avenue, will feature Santa, who will be available for pictures and ready to write down wish lists from all the kids.

Koenning said Main Street will be closed from 2 p.m. until the parade is over, and asked that people, if possible, try to limit their driving on Moreno Street unless they are participating in the parade or are dropping off a participant.

Drop-off boxes for the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots campaign will also be "readily available and easily visible," Koenning said, for anyone wishing to donate a new, unwrapped toy. All toys will be distributed to needy metro Atlanta children.

"We're excited to assist North Gwinnett High and their DECA group in gathering toys for this year's drive," Koenning said.

For those who would like to donate money, a raffle will be held.

The parade's grand marshall will be Georgia Insurance and Fire Safety Commissioner John Oxendine. Oxendine will address those in attendance about 1:30 p.m., Koenning said, before participating in the parade.

"This is certainly an honor for our community," Koenning said. "... Mr. Oxendine will certainly be a great addition to this holiday tradition."