The cities of Ringgold and Fort Oglethorpe are gearing up for their annual Christmas celebrations with parades and gatherings slated for consecutive weekends beginning Dec. 1.

Ringgold

Ringgold's annual "Down Home Christmas" event will be first on the docket and will take place Friday night, Dec. 1 beginning at 6 p.m. The night will consist of the parade along Nashville Street at 6 p.m., followed by refreshments, entertainment, and a meet-and-greet with Santa Claus at the historic Ringgold Depot.

The following day, on Saturday, Dec. 2, the city will hold its "Down Home Christmas Expo" from 1-7 p.m., which will feature local crafters and vendors.

Also, Dec. 1-2 and 8-9, the Christmas festivities will be extended to include the "Ringgold Sleigh Rides" through the Nature Trail. The sleigh rides will take Christmas-goers from Depot Street down through the Nature Trail, which will be decorated with Christmas lights and on to the Kiwanis Pavilion for holiday treats and hot cocoa. The sleigh rides will run from 6-10 p.m. each of the scheduled nights at a cost of $3 per person.

"Our downtown businesses will also have a great shopping deals along with beautiful Christmas windows to look at," said Ringgold Main Street Manager Jamie Klementisz.

Fort Oglethorpe

Fort Oglethorpe's annual "Christmas at the Post" event will take place the following weekend on Saturday, Dec. 9.

The family festival will begin on historic Barnhardt Circle at 2 p.m. with live entertainment, crafts, vendors, and pictures with Santa Claus. The parade will follow later that evening beginning at 6 p.m.

"Christmas at the Post" will also be accepting additional unwrapped gifts from the public, which will be distributed as part of the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department's annual "Stocking Full of Love" effort to give a Christmas experience to less fortunate children of Catoosa County.

Additional information for each event can be obtained by calling 706-935-3061 (Ringgold), or 706-858-4639 (Fort Oglethorpe).

Josh O'Bryant is a general assignment reporter and covers the Walker-Catoosa County area. He can be reached at the Walker County Messenger office at 706-638-1859 and by email at jobryant@npco.com.