SCOUTING AROUND: Christmas on Main expands kids’ activities

  • A child enjoys time with Santa during last year’s event.
    A child enjoys time with Santa during last year’s event.

    Andrews – Christmas on Main Street is usually one of the first places children can visit Santa Claus locally. This year, the jolly old elf will be joined by an area filled with activities for kids and families.
    Locust Street will become Reindeer Lane for the sixth annual event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23. Dedra Davis and her subcommittee have planned games, puppet shows and a bounce house to fill the street with fun.
    “This is probably twice what we had last year,” Davis said. “I’m really getting excited about it.”
    Since the area will be called Reindeer Lane, many of the activities will include familiar faces from the classic book and movie Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
    Davis was asked by Christmas on Main chair Terry Gribble to lead the children’s activities this year. She wasn’t sure at first about taking on the role, but embraced it and found ways to do more while keeping it simple, fun and cost-effective.
    She said it helps that she gathered a committee full of creative minds. “I just felt like it needed more,” Davis said, adding that the children’s activities have improved every year. “I’m really pleased with what we’ve got.”
    Santa will only be available for photos in Teddy Bear Knoll – the grassy area at the corner of First and Locust streets – from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Photos will be taken professionally by Angela Donaldson. There are also plans for a selfie photo booth near the entrance to Reindeer Lane at the intersection of Locust and Main streets.
    For entertainment, Marble Springs Baptist Church is bringing in trained puppeteers and a professional magician. The shows, which are about 20 minutes long, will start at 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Bleachers will be available for seating.
    Children can play snowball toss and antler toss, or burn energy with the jingle bell shake hula hoop activity. The bounce house will be at the end of the road, so families can see all the other activities, including Santa, before getting there.
    The Rev. Tom Jolley of Andrews United Methodist Church and his wife, Jean, will also have a face-painting booth. Elves – also known as Marble Springs Baptist Church youth members – will be making balloon animals and hats.
    To help transform the street, plans are to place decorative backdrops along each side of buildings.
    While there are plenty planned for children, and there will be volunteers wearing antlers to supervise activities, it’s not a place for parents to drop off their children so they can shop at the vendors positioned along Main Street. Davis said Reindeer Lane was planned with families in mind.
    “We wanted it to be family oriented,” she said. “We would like families to experience it together.”
    Davis was appreciative of the churches that provided volunteers, supplies and activities, including Andrews First United Methodist, Faith Baptist Tabernacle, Marble Springs Baptist, Andrews First Baptist, Red Marble Baptist and Andrews Presbyterian.
    “I love to see Andrews celebrate and have community activities like this,” she said. “I just can’t wait to see the kids’ excitement. … I hope their eyes light up.”
    Reindeer Lane will close in time for families to gather for the tree-lighting ceremony at 4:45 p.m. Christmas on Main Street is presented by the Andrews Chamber of Commerce.

Craft show returns
    Peachtree – Holiday shopping starts this weekend at the Peachtree Community Center. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the center will be filled with 45-50 vendors selling a variety of handmade crafts, including ornaments, wreaths, woodcarvings, jewelry and baskets.
    Artists come from both western North Carolina and north Georgia to be a part of the annual Christmas Craft Show. The show has grown so much over the last few years that some vendors are lined along the outside of the building.
    The center at 125 Memory Lane has presented the fundraiser for more than 25 years. Funds raised from vendor fees go toward maintenance of the center, which is a polling place and rented for birthdays, family reunions and other celebrations.
    Secretary-treasurer Jeanie Setser said it’s typically a fun day, with many staying to socialize. The event includes a 50/50 drawing as well as door prizes. Breakfast and lunch will be available for purchase. Veterans are given a free sausage biscuit or hot dog.

Coat drive underway
    Murphy – Jim Miller has always had a soft spot for kids. When he saw a child without a coat in freezing temperatures, he had to do something.
    “I’ve always felt, if you can do something, you should do something,” Miller said.
    That something became the Cherokee County Coat Drive. Each year, the drive typically collects 600-800 coats for both children and adults. The collection period for this year recently started and will continue through the end of the month. Each coat is generously cleaned by Erlanger Western Carolina Hospital in Peachtree, then distributed in conjunction with the Toys for Tots distribution Dec. 13-14. While families need to register for Toys for Tots, anyone may stop by to pick the coats they need.
    People may donate new or gently used coats at Miller’s State Farm office, any Cherokee County School and participating businesses throughout the county.
    Monetary donations are accepted and useful in providing coats in sizes still needed after the donation period. Checks made out to “Cherokee County Coat Fund” may be dropped off at Miller’s office, or can be directly deposited into an account at Entegra Bank.

Christmas Child dropoff
    Marble – The Truett Baptist Association is one of 5,000 drop-off locations for Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week, Nov. 18-25.
    Families, churches and organizations may fill shoeboxes with toys, school supplies and hygiene items. The collected shoebox gifts are given to children overseas through Samaritan’s Purse partnerships with churches around the world.
    Shoeboxes may be dropped off at the Truett Baptist Association from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Boxes may also be dropped off 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23; 2-5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24; or 8:30 a.m. to noon Monday, Nov. 25.
    For details, call Laura Kelly at 837-5401 or 837-8882, or visit the website
    Samantha Sinclair is the Scouting Around columnist for the Cherokee Scout. Email or leave a message at 837-5122.