GARLAND — Residents throughout town are ready to share the spirit of the holidays on Saturday.
The Town of Garland’s “Christmas in the Park” is scheduled for noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, in downtown and Rotary Park.
This year marks the fifth year for the event. It began in 2012 through the work of town officials and NC STEP (North Carolina Small Town Economic Prosperity), an organization developed to help towns facing economic hardships. Along with the Christmas event, NC STEP hosted events such as Easter egg hunts and Halloween festivities. A contract with the organization recently ended. Now, town officials and volunteers are continuing the tradition.
Garland Mayor Winifred Murphy would like to see all of the community members participate in the event. Like many others, Murphy enjoys the Christmas holiday.
“I enjoy spending time with family and friends and celebrating the birth of Jesus,” Murphy said.
Toys for Tots registrations and donations will take place between noon and 4 p.m. During this period, Garland officials are encouraging visitors to enjoy Christmas shopping at local businesses and with local vendors.
Next, local ensembles will sing carols in the park from 4 to 5 p.m. The scheduled performers include Iglesia Christiana Palabra De Salvation Choir, St. Stephen AME Zion Church Youth Choir, Garland Baptist Church Youth Choir, Garland Pentecostal Freewill Baptist Church Youth Choir and the Garland First Baptist Youth Choir.
“We’re trying to involve more of the faith-based (groups), so more of the churches are also helping us out this year,” Murphy said about the involvement.
After the performance, Santa Claus is scheduled to arrive before the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony from 5:15 to 6 p.m.
“The Garland Fire Department is going to bring Santa in from the North Pole,” Murphy said about the special guest.
From 6 to 8 p.m. Santa is taking pictures with visitors. Shops, dining and the telling of “The Christmas Story” will also be available for visitors.
Refreshments such as hot chocolate, chili, cookies and milk will be served.
For more information, call Garland Town Hall at 910-529-4141.
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.