Braselton celebrates early Christmas as is tradition




• What: Celebrate the Holidays in Braselton

• When: Parade begins at 10:30 a.m.; festival 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday

• Where: Braselton Park, 126 Harrison St., Braselton

• For more information: www.braselton.net >

BRASELTON -- It may seem slightly early to celebrate in the streets with Christmas cheer, but in Braselton, it's tradition.

"The festival has been going on for years and years," parade organizer Amy Pinnell said. "It started off when the Braselton brothers had a store. They needed to get the ball rolling early (for shopping), so they started a festival to get more people downtown to shop."

The annual Celebrate the Holidays festival and parade kick off Saturday morning in Braselton Park. The "Winter Wonderland" parade starts at 10:30 a.m. beginning at Braselton Tech Center on Ga. Highway 53. This year's grand marshall is the Winter Princess, who will be "casting winter spells all over Braselton."

There will be more than 12 floats in the parade along with local churches, clubs and organizations. The one thing the organizers aren't sure about is this year's marching band.

"I always think that the crowd loves the marching band, but I'm not sure we'll have one this year," she said. "Flowery Branch is in the playoffs, so the band may be traveling to be with the team and they'll be too drained to walk the parade."

Three floats will win prizes. Braselton judges will examine each entry and give a "Theme Award," "Spirit Award" and "Blue Ribbon Award."

Another large attraction connected to the festival is the YearOne car show from 2 to 6 p.m. at 1001 Cherry Drive in Braselton. It benefits the Holiday Connection Jackson County, which supports families and children.

"It's a lot of fun because you never know what you'll see," Pinnell said. "The weather is going to be beautiful this weekend. It will be a great opportunity to watch the parade and then walk to the festival for holiday shopping."