This weekend Grayson will celebrate Hometown Holidays, with a variety of events spread out over the two-day celebration – but the popular tree lighting ceremony might not have happened if the folks at Grayson Rural Electric Co-op Corporation (GRECC) hadn't stepped up to make it a reality.

In the past the tree lighting has taken place at the corner of Pomeroy and Main Street, with a large pine tree there being decorated each year. This year, however, that tree had to be cut down.

Members of the Grayson Tourism Commission weren't sure how they were going to work around the loss of the tree when they met last month to discuss plans for the tree lighting and other Hometown Holidays events, but after discussing it with other organizations GRECC offered to provide a tree that needed to be cut down anyway. They removed the tree from one of their power line right of ways, and then helped set the tree up at the Veterans Park on Main Street.

“The other challenge was how to put it up,” tourism commission member and Hometown Holidays organizer Don Combs explained.

GRECC helped there again by drilling a hole, using equipment designed for placing power line poles, and placing the tree into the hole.

Combs and the tourism commission also extended their thanks to the Carter County Citizens for Veterans (CVA), for providing space for the tree along the parade route in Veterans Park, and JMK Electric for donating decorations for the tree.

The Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, with the Chamber Christmas Parade following at 6:30 the same evening.

Other events will include a photo op with the Griswold Christmas Car, on display near the city building on Park Street both Friday and Saturday.

Friday events also include the Christmas Market, from 4 – 8 p.m. at the Grayson Gallery & Art Center, featuring warm, spiced, mulled maple wine from Savage Farms.

At the same time Grayson City Park will host a North Pole Christmas with Santa, Mrs. Claus, Rudolph and elves.

Saturday morning kicks off with the Candy Cane Lane 5K, at 9 a.m., registration at 8 a.m., and a return of the Christmas Market, and mulled wine, from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Pancakes and pictures with Santa will run from 9 until noon at Prichard Elementary School, with a fee of $5 per person, proceeds to benefit the Prichard PTA.

First Baptist Church Ministry Center will then host an Almost Christmas VBS from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. After having pancakes or enjoying VBS, kids can catch free train rides at City Park, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Also in City Park from 12 – 5 p.m. is a new event this year: Crafts and Information from the Girl Scouts. The Grayson Branch of the Carter County Public Library will host Christmas Storytime and free book giveaways, featuring the Berenstain Bears' Night Before Christmas, at 2, 2:15, and 2:30 p.m. This giveaway is sponsored by First Book of Carter County, Robert Caummisar, and the Carter County Public Library.

After getting your free book, come meet Rudolph, Pokemon characters, Frosty, Elmo, and Griswold characters at City Park from 3 – 5 p.m. alongside the return of the North Pole Christmas.

Between the 5 p.m. tree lighting and 6:30 parade, or after the parade, you can run out to Hitchins to check out “A Night in Bethlehem,” at Carter Christian Academy, from 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Make sure you stop by the Veterans Park Gazebo on the way, for free hot chocolate, cider, and cookies from 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Contest winners will be announced at the gazebo at 6 p.m. just before the parade starts.

After the parade, make sure to take the kids by the Grayson Fire Department for Chamber Christmas Treat Bags, starting at 7:30 p.m. While you're there, the kids can play on free inflatables and enjoy free hot chocolate from 7 – 9 p.m., with the fire department's official Christmas lighting starting at 8:15 and annual Christmas light show running from 8:30 p.m. until midnight.

For a schedule of events, or more information, check out Grayson Tourism on Facebook, or call the tourism cabin during business hours at (606)474-8740.

Contact the writer at jwells@journal-times.com.

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