Communities Prepare For Holiday Season

The annual Hamburg Holidays celebration will begin at 3:30 Thursday and conclude with the tree lighting at 7 p.m. on the square.

Now that the Thanksgiving leftovers have been eaten, Ashley County is getting ready to get serious about celebrating the holiday season.

Hamburg Holidays will be from 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, through the conclusion of the lighting of the city Christmas tree, which will begin at 7 p.m. that same day.

Pictures with Santa will be 3:30 to 6:15 p.m., and the arts and crafts vendors will open on the Hamburg Square at 4 p.m., the same time that Santa’s Workshop will open. The Workshop will be a partnership between the area banks and the Ashley County Library.

“We are going to have Santa’s Workshop going on, so it is going to be really kid friendly,” Hamburg Area Chamber of Commerce Director Hannah Morton said.

“There are going to be pictures with Santa going on, and we just want it to be as fun and enjoyable as it can and to help everyone get in the holiday spirit.”

Event entertainment will begin at 4:15 p.m., and at 5:15 p.m. John Dumas will present Christmas music. Marilyn Chambers will read the Christmas story at 5:30 p.m.

The annual Little Red Wagon Parade will be at 6:30 p.m., followed closely by the Christmas Lights and Hamburg Nights parade.

Entertainment will also include performances from several area churches, Morton said, and the Albritton Elementary School choir will sing “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” at the end of the proceedings.

The Hamburg School District’s East Lab will host the lighting of the Christmas tree at 7 p.m.

Even though the bulk of the events will be Thursday, the Hamburg Chamber will also host a 5K run and one mile walk on Saturday. Registration will be at 7 a.m. and the race will follow at 7:30.

Slots are still available for vendors who want to be part of the festivities, and Morton said that she can take registrations until the end of Wednesday night. To register as a vendor, call 870-853-8345 or email the Chamber at chamberofcommercehamburg@gmail.com.

Those who feel like they have only whetted their whistle for the holiday spirit will have the opportunity for more community partying with the annual Christmas in Crossett festivities.

Before the bulk of the celebrations start on Saturday, CenturyNext Bank will host a decorated gingerbread house contest. Crossett Area Chamber of Commerce Director Mandy White said anybody can take their decorated gingerbread house to the bank by 4 p.m. Friday for judging.

The main Christmas in Crossett events will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, with vendors set up in the blocks of Main Street closest to its intersection with First Avenue.

Carnival rides will be available in the CenturyNext Bank parking lot for the cost of a $10 arm band, which can be purchased ahead of time or the day of the events. 

A free Kids’ Zone will be open on the grassy knoll located next to CItizen’s Bank. More than 30 vendors are registered for the event.

“Come out and enjoy the rides,” White said. “The businesses along the area where the event will be will be open as well for local shopping.”

The day will end with the annual Christmas parade. As Grand Marshal, Chester Huntsman will lead the parade on the theme of “Holly Jolly Christmas in Crossett.” 

Parade lineup will be at 5 p.m. at the Crossett Riding Club’s rodeo grounds on Jim Shoulders Road, and the floats will roll at 6 p.m.

The parade will move westward on Jim Shoulder road until it merges into Third Avenue, and will continue westward on Third until it reaches Main Street. From there, it will turn left on Main Street and continue south until it reaches the area of the intersection with Waterwell Road, at which point it will end.

The builders of the float that is judged best will go home with $250, while the second best will receive $150, and the third best $75.

Christmas in Crossett T-shirts are available for sale now at the Chamber and will be available the day of the event, and they cost $20 for all sizes.

For more information about event or the parade, contact the Chamber at 870-364-6591.