By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times
Both the Grayson and Olive Hill Chambers of Commerce are gearing up for holiday events across the county, ensuring that everyone has a chance at a Merry Christmas this year. The holiday events even include a county-spanning, joint venture between the two chambers that will create a trail of lights for holiday travelers to enjoy as they move between and through the two communities.
Both communities will keep up their own holiday traditions – Christmas on the Hill and Christmas at the Depot in Olive Hill, Hometown Holidays over in Grayson – but this year they’ll also encourage holiday shoppers to stay, and shop, closer to home with their new Merry & Bright Light Trail.
The link for homes and businesses to sign up for that, on each chamber’s web page, open on Sunday. Once registered, fans of the displays can vote for their favorite home or business display and winners will be awarded a cash prize, ranging from $150 for third to $500 for first prize. In addition to the online voting, drawings will be held at various local businesses during Facebook Livestream events for $50 gift certificates and “Carter County Bucks” accepted by various local businesses.
The chambers hope events like this, and Small Business Saturday, encourage more folks to shop closer to home this holiday season.
Hometown Holidays, in Grayson, is the first event to occur after the Merry & Bright trail opens. Though it doesn’t technically kick-off until December 3, there are events leading up to it to help get residents in the mood, starting with the community tree lighting on November 30, at 5:30 p.m. at All Creatures Veterinary Care. The next morning WGOH & WUGO will begin playing holiday tunes on their Christmas Station at 88.9 on the FM dial.
On Friday, December 3 various Grayson merchants will hold open houses, and from 4-8 p.m. the Market 474 Christmas Market will be open, with food trucks and stands. During that same time Inflation Station will host an “open jump and movie” with visits from Santa until 6 p.m. From 6-8 Walking on Sunshine Spa & Shoppe will host a s’mores and more make-n-take station.
Saturday will start off with the Hometown Holidays 5K, and more of the events from Friday, complete with another visit with Santa from 1-3 p.m. There will also be train rides from the Grayson Fire Department, church caroling, cookie decorating, decorated bicycle contest and parade, music, storytelling, and more throughout the day, culminating with the Christmas parage at 5:30 and Grayson Fire Department light show at 8. A full schedule of events is available online at graysonchamber.com.
The theme for the parade this year is “Dear Santa, Celebrating Christmas Wishes.” Parade registration is open through December 2, with entry numbers assigned and emailed back the day before the parade. Any individual, business, or organization is encouraged to sign-up and participate in the parade, but parade chair Jill York has asked for parade participants to refrain from having anyone dressed as Santa on their float. She told the Grayson Chamber they were asking for the “one and only Santa” to be there at the end of the parade. Following the parade Santa will be available for a final visit and photo session at 6:30 p.m. at the fire department.
If that wasn’t enough, the next day a “pop up parade” led by the fire department’s Griswold Family Station Wagon will kick off at 6 p.m. at the fire department, along with another light show.
After you’ve taken in the Hometown Holiday events in Grayson, you can head on over to Olive Hill for their annual Christmas on the Hill event, hosted by the Olive Hill Historical Society. That event, also scheduled for December 3 and 4, features a pre-show dinner, or you can just take in the show itself. Dinner begins at 6 p.m., with the show following at 7. Doors open around 5:30 p.m. Tickets for the dinner and show, or the show alone, are available at Tackett’s Furniture, in Olive Hill, at a cost of $30 for dinner and $12 for the show alone. Show only tickets may also be purchased at the door on either night of the show.
After Christmas on the Hill, Olive Hill’s next event is Christmas at the Depot. Santa will be at the Depot in Olive Hill on December 6, at 7 p.m. to celebrate “A Warming Christmas” and hand out gifts to all children. In addition to the gift from Santa there will be giveaways from other community groups.
Olive Hill Chamber President said in addition to new lights at the Depot, they also have a series of new inflatable decorations they’ll be putting up in advance of the event.
“We’re getting into the Christmas spirit,” she told the chamber.
For more information on these and other events you can check out the Olive Hill Chamber of Commerce at olivehillchamberofcommerce.com, the Grayson Chamber of Commerce at graysonchamber.com, and the Olive Hill Historical Society at olivehillhistoricalsociety.com. You can also find all groups on Facebook and other social media.
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