Welcoming the Christmas spirit

Landon and Madison Gargus, children of Eric and Kristen Gargus, got to meet and talk with Santa Claus last year. Santa will be back again when he comes to downSee town Oneonta on Dec. 7 and 8.

Landon and Madison Gargus, children of Eric and Kristen Gargus, got to meet and talk with Santa Claus last year. Santa will be back again when he comes to downSee town Oneonta on Dec. 7 and 8.

Billboard-charting musicians, coffee, and Santa will be ushering in the Christmas season to Oneonta this year. Country Christmas, hosted by the Oneonta Business Association, will take place on Dec. 7 and 8. People of all ages will be able to rekindle that Christmas spirit with music, decorations, and numerous holiday activities.

Main events during Country Christmas include musical guests entertaining in a coffeehouse environment at the former Hammer’s building on First Avenue, and children getting their picture taken with Santa Claus at Erica’s hair salon on First Avenue East.

Multiple types of entertainment will be at the coffeehouse during Country Christmas. Co-sponsor Royal Cup Coffee will provide coffee, apple cider, hot chocolate and more for attendees to enjoy while they listen to performances.

The music schedule for Friday includes a couple of local musicians and a special performance. Dillon Vargas will perform at 5 p.m., Charlotte Murphree will portray “The Bag Lady Does Christmas” at 5:30 p.m., and Jo Ann Bullard will take the stage at 7 p.m. That same evening, a Pearl Harbor remembrance will be held at 6 p.m. to honor those who served in World War II, as well as other wars. Veterans and current servicemen and women are invited to join the festivities and be recognized. All are welcomed to enjoy the patriotic singing and hear speaker Wayne Bynum.

Roman Street will be headlining on Saturday at 2 p.m. This internationallytrained acoustic band has recently been on the Billboard’s top 10 with their single, “Caravan,” and will be performing songs from their first Christmas album, “Christmas Rhumba,” at the coffeehouse. The band includes brothers and guitarists, Noah and Josh Thompson, and percussionist Daniel Brett. They will be joined at Country Christmas by violinist Melody Duncan.

The music schedule Saturday includes Backwoods Boys Bluegrass Band at 9 a.m., Ladies of Faith at 10 a.m., Praise Team of World Outreach Center at 11 a.m., Cindy Hastings at noon, saxophonist Vann Burchfield at 12:45 p.m. featuring his wife Teresa on vocals, and Roman Street at 2 p.m.

Santa will be in town on Friday from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. and on Saturday 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. and 1 p.m. until 3 p.m, and children will have a chance to send their letters to Santa by mailing them in a special mailbox located at Gate House Antiques. If a mailing address is included on the envelope or letter, expect a reply.

Other activities include Children’s Christmas Storytime located in the Christmas room at Floral Creations, inflatables, ornament-making at Bows to Toes, Tattoos-4-U at Kuttin Krew, Christmas cookie and gingerbread house decorating contests at Oneonta First Baptist, and arts and crafts booths located at the fellowship hall of Lester Memorial United Methodist Church from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days.

Children are invited to participate in a children’s book exchange at Provence on First Avenue. Kids will bring a book from home, wrapped in Christmas paper, and place it in a collection basket. They will then select a book for themselves. Any books left over will be donated to Blount County DHR for foster children.

Custom-designed holiday banners are displayed in windows of some of the empty stores and Christmas lights have been placed downtown to spruce up the town for the holidays.

Local merchants are encouraged to dress in old-fashioned clothing and decorate their stores. For more information, visit oneontabusinessassociation.com.