The Chamber of Commerce, Athens Main Street, City of Athens, Limestone County Commission, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association and several community volunteers have formed a committee to help promote and celebrate the holiday season.
Below are some of the events taking place in downtown this year.
34th annual Christmas Open House
The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce and Athens Main Street are planning a weekend full of fun for the whole family. The date for this year's Christmas Open House is Nov. 20–22.
Kicking off the weekend Nov. 20, patrons are encouraged to "skate around The Square," shop at all of the retailers and dine locally. They are also encouraged to post photos and videos and tag the Chamber and Athens Main Street's social media accounts.
Skating rink hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Photos with Santa on Marion Street will be 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Merry Market on Marion Street will take place 11 a.m to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. Vendor applications are coming soon.
“The Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce, along with Athens Main Street, are excited to once again host Christmas Open House for Athens and Limestone County,” said Chamber President Jennifer Williamson. “It is a great weekend to kick off your holiday shopping while supporting our local businesses. Skating on The Square, shopping, caroling, visits with Santa and more — you will find something for the whole family to enjoy during Christmas Open House.”
New this year are painting opportunities for children and adults, which will be offered near the skating rink by The Broken Brush. Children can paint a Christmas tree night light for $15 each, and adults can paint a 12-inch lighted Christmas tree for $45. Take-home paint kits will also be available for purchase, and there are discounts for purchases of four items or more.
The music and entertainment for this year's Christmas Open House will be Malone and Friends.
“Downtown Athens is a lovely place to visit anytime of the year,” said Athens Main Street Executive Director Tere Richardson. “But, Christmas on The Square is a magical time, especially during Christmas Open House weekend. With ice skating, caroling, photos with Santa, North Pole Stroll Christmas trees and most importantly great shopping, it is a family event that is not to be missed.”
North Pole Stroll
Big Spring Memorial Park
Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association is offering businesses the opportunity to purchase a tree in their annual North Pole Stroll. The stroll is located in Big Spring Memorial Park in downtown Athens. Trees are $100. For more information, contact the Tourism Office at visitathensal.com or 256-232-5411.
Annual Limestone County Commission Christmas Tree Lighting
East side of the Limestone County Courthouse lawn
Before the annual parade, the Limestone County Commission would like to invite the community out for some Christmas carols and excitement as Limestone County's official Christmas tree is lighted 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 3, on the east side lawn of the Limestone County Courthouse.
Carols will be sung by Tom McClung, and the emcees for the event are Jamie and Gloria Cooper. Ornaments, decorated by area students, will be judged, and winners will be announced.
Athens-Limestone County Christmas Parade
Begins promptly at 6 p.m.
After the tree lighting, residents from across the entire county will convene for the annual Athens-Limestone County Christmas Parade. The theme is “A Christmas Wish — Love, Unity and Community.”
The parade will begin 6 p.m. Dec. 3 at Athens Middle School on U.S. 31 and follow the same route as previous years — west on Hobbs Street, south on Jefferson Street, east on Market Street, south on Marion Street, west on Washington Street, south on Jefferson Street and ending at the Hometown Shopping Center.
Betty Christopher, who has worked with the parade since 2004, will serve as grand marshal. Parade applications can be turned in 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at the Chamber office, 101 S. Beaty St., Athens.
The deadline to register is 4 p.m. Nov. 19. Click here for the parade application.
10th annual Sippin' Cider Festival
Athens Main Street has scheduled its annual cider festival for 5–8 p.m. Dec. 12. Downtown merchants will be open late for shopping and dining.
While shopping, patrons can sip on cider and vote for their favorite. Merchants are competing for the coveted Cider Cup and bragging rights for the year.
Patrons can also eat s'mores on the courthouse lawn. Christmas carols will be led by Limestone County native Jerome Malone. Kids can even get their picture taken with costumed characters.