Hometown Christmas Parade 3 (copy)

Santa Claus is headed to Lawrenceville again this year, but this time he’s bringing fireworks instead of a parade.

With the way 2020 has gone so far, it’s never too early for some good news — even if you have to wait until Christmas.

That’s how the city of Lawrenceville feels about its latest announcement that Santa Claus is coming to town, and he’s bringing fireworks.

Fireworks for Christmas? That’s just some of the out-of-the-box thinking that cities are doing these days, said Melissa Hardegree, who is director of community relations for Lawrencville. She said a socially distanced Santa will be on hand for the city’s Christmas celebration on Dec. 12, which will also feature a drive-in Christmas movie followed by fireworks.

“You get fireworks and Santa,” Hardegree said. “People have been calling to ask if we were going to have a Christmas parade (because of COVID-19), and I have to tell them ‘no.” But we are having a Christmas event.”

The fireworks were not used for the city’s Fourth of July celebration due to the pandemic. But Lawrenceville recently received the go-ahead to use them on Dec. 12 as a way to celebrate Christmas and kick off the city’s bicentennial, which will be celebrated in 2021.

“We will encourage people to social distance and stay in their cars as much as possible,” Hardegree said.

The Christmas celebration will culminate a year that has seen Lawrenceville, and other cities around Gwinnett County, change up the way they do events. Hardegree said Lawrenceville has concentrated on smaller events, which have worked well.

“We are getting to know the people who attend these events better and it is also helping us focus on our downtown businesses by giving them some unique opportunities,” she said. “People want to get out of the house.”

One of the things Lawrenceville has done is start a series called Spotlight in the DTL. It’s an opportunity for artists to step into the spotlight and perform live in one of the city’s downtown locations. Vocalists, actors, magicians, dancers, musicians, artists are encouraged to submit a virtual audition. The best will be selected to perform, with performances being held most Fridays and Saturdays in September and October.

The city also hosts a Wellness Wednesday event in partnership with Fleet Feet, Performance Power Yoga and Fishery Fitness Studio. Activities such as kickboxing, yoga and fun runs are held during these free, 60-minute sessions that run Sept. 9 through Oct. 28.

Another new event is the city’s Drive-In Movie Series. The city will bring classic movies to Lawrenceville’s Depot District to enjoy drive-in movies. Reservations are required and spots are limited. Tickets for each movie are released online 10 days prior to the event. You can get more information at downtownlawrencevillega.com.

Lawrenceville will celebrate Halloween with a Movie on the Lawn event Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. No registration required. The Lawrenceville Lawn will host a daytime show, featuring Halloween goodies and “Monsters Inc.,” “The Addams Family” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.”

And then there’s the Christmas event. Hardegree said children will be able to get their photo taken “near” Santa (respecting social distance, of course) in addition to enjoying the movie and, at the end of the day, a unique Christmas fireworks show.

“Santa is coming to Lawrenceville,” Hardegree said, sharing some much needed happy news.

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