A celebration of the holiday season comes to Rockmart this Thursday and weekend with the annual Christmas Parade and an event in the downtown square featuring Ol’ Saint Nick himself.
Rockmart’s annual Christmas Parade is taking place on Thursday, December 5 starting at 6 p.m. with the tree lighting in front of the Rockmart History Museum to follow.
Those who get accepted into the parade have an opportunity to win big with a first place prize of $500, a runner-up prize of $300, and a third place prize of $150. The award will be given out in two different categories including a church category and a school/club/non-profit category. Commercial businesses are invited to participate, but those who do are not eligible for an award.
“Immediately following the parade, the Rockmart Fire Department will stop with Santa Claus at the Rockmart History Museum to light the Rockmart Christmas Tree and meet with kids of all ages,” RCAC Director Peggy Cline said in previous coverage of the parade. “The Rockmart Community Chorus will be singing carols at the tree lighting, too.”
Should it get stormy, a rain date is still in place for Saturday, December 7 at 4 p.m.
Citizens are encouraged to watch the parade from the city’s historic downtown area. Alongside a great view of the action, shops will be open late for citizen’s dining and shopping pleasures, and those camping out downtown will have front row seats to the lighting of the Rockmart Christmas tree.
The parade’s route is the same as last year. Beginning at Hilburn Field parking lot, 815 College St., the parade will continue straight onto College Street before taking a left onto N. Piedmont Avenue.
Afterward, the parade will make a right onto E. Elm Street, and a left turn will take the parade onto S. Marble. Floats and large trucks will reach Maple Street and promptly be directed to turn left onto Slate Street.
Holiday festivities continue through the weekend on Saturday, December 7 as the shops open on the downtown square and Santa Claus takes up a spot on the front steps of the Rockmart History Museum for photos during this year’s Unwrap the Joy of Christmas event.
“We’re excited to share the joy of the holiday season with our friends and family in the Rockmart community, and encourage everyone to come out and celebrate the holidays and find wonderful gift at our local merchants,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Blair Elrod said.
The event — being organized through the Chamber’s Downtown Rockmart Advisory Committee — means to promote local businesses and bringing shopping downtown while also enjoying a family-friendly holiday event.
Carolers will join Santa on the front steps of the history museum throughout the day as businesses open their doors and take part in holiday fun. Shops will also have extended shopping hours and free gift wrapping throughout the weekend.
That includes Now and Then of Rockmart, who are sponsoring Santa to come and stop by for photo opportunities as well as another that can accommodate more people. They have arranged for a vintage station wagon parked on South Marble to give everyone a chance to get in a Christmas-card worthy shot free of charge as well.
Note that there will be no animals allowed in the vehicle for photos, since it also is in use for other purposes.
Now and Then is also sponsoring a ornament decorating session at their shop, and will be providing materials for the day. They’re working with local art students to help youth paint their ornaments during the Unwrap the Joy of Christmas event.
The Rockmart Farmers Market will also be out with their own children-focused ornament making class.
Additional Santa sponsors include The Perch on Marble, Sherman Ross State Farm Insurance in Rockmart, Rockmart Florist and Southern Traditions. Mr. Claus and the station wagon will only be available for photos from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Those who want to get a photo with Santa or in the station wagon will have to bring their own cameras along, but photos are free.
Families will also have the chance to find gifts in an artisans market in the parking lot next door to the Rockmart Theatre on South Marble and Elm, and a Petting Zoo beside the Silver Comet Trailhead during the holiday celebration.
Unwrap the Joy of Christmas will continue into Sunday with select merchants open during the day.
Saturday night and Sunday afternoon also provide opportunities for the holiday spirit to continue. The weekend evening and matinee performances of the Rockmart Community Chorus’ annual holiday concert starts at 6 p.m. on Dec. 7 and 2 p.m. on Dec. 8, with tickets still on sale and at the box office both days.
They are $6 each and can also be purchased at the Rockmart Cultural Arts Center when the gallery is open.