published Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

Christmas creeping closer

Here are a few holiday-related events happening over the long weekend.


Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum has sounded the "All Aboard" for rides on the North Pole Limited. A tradition since 1999, these rides from Grand Junction Station, 4119 Cromwell Road, include refreshments, storytelling and sing-alongs on the way to the North Pole, where Santa boards for the return trip. Dates of operation are Nov. 23-25 and 30, Dec. 1-2, 7-9 and 14-22. Departures are at 5:45 and 7:30 p.m., with a limited number of 9:15 p.m. departures on select days. Cost is $24 for ages 1 and older.

Santa's Private Car is also available at a higher fare, $48. Included are hot chocolate in a keepsake tumbler, Christmas cookies and an extended visit with Santa.

To reserve tickets, call 894-8028 or visit


Ringgold Wedding Chapel, 7683 Nashville St., Ringgold, Ga., will host a Christmas Market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23. Shoppers can peruse merchandise from several small businesses and have a photo made with Santa Claus. For more information, call 706-935-8199.


The Bluff View Art District, 400 E. Second St., will treat visitors to several activities from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23.

Visitors can meet the chefs, bakers and coffee roasters and enjoy their culinary specialties. Children can write a letter to Santa and decorate a cookie for his reindeer. Artists will offer demonstrations at the River Gallery (find out more on Page 22). Musicians will entertain throughout the day, and discounts will be available on gift items.

For more information, call 265-5033, ext. 481.


This old-fashioned holiday celebration returns Saturday, Nov. 24 in downtown Blue Ridge, Ga., in Fannin County. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway at 11:15 a.m., then visit with children in the gazebo the rest of the day.

Other activities include live reindeer, children's trackless train rides, Tim the Magician, Butterfly the Clown and "Balloon Lady" Nancy Fangles.

Entertainment begins at noon with a Tuba Christmas performance. The lighting of the Great Tree will take place at 6 p.m., following a performance by headliner Bartlee Norton & 64 Highway. Downtown shops will be open late.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Open Arms of Blue Ridge, which is working to offer short-term residential child care for abused and neglected children from Fannin, Gilmer, Union and Towns counties.

For more information, contact Dianne Mallernee at 706-633-4773 or visit


* 11 a.m. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrival, followed by mini parade

* Noon. Tuba Christmas

* 1:30 p.m. Centre Pointe Dance Studio

* 2 p.m. Lindsey Harper

* 2:30 p.m. Studio One Dance Studio

* 3 p.m. Natti Love Joys

* 4 p.m. Breaking Point

* 5 p.m. Bartlee Norton & 64 Highway with Emily Grace


Southern Adventist University holds its annual Christmas on the Promenade from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27.

The program will begin in front of Wright Hall, 4881 Taylor Circle, with a performance by the Collegedale Academy Concert Band and the lighting of the Christmas tree. Festivities will then move to the K.R. Davis Promenade, with adjacent buildings decorated for the season. Refreshments will be available to visitors as they stroll the walkway, enjoying performances by SilverBrass, Naked Voices (Southern's a cappella group), Southern Adventist University Jazz Ensemble, Southern Ringtones, Collegedale Adventist Middle School String Orchestra and other groups.

Admission is free. For more information, call 236-2814.


What winter constellations can be seen in the Northern Hemisphere? Why do we have seasons? What are the theories behind that famous star over Bethlehem?

Those questions and more will be answered at "Season of Light," to be presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 27, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, by Walker County Schools' Smith Planetarium at the Walker County Science and Technology Center, 409 Pond Springs Road, Chickamauga, Ga.

The hourlong specialty program explores history and customs associated with winter. The program, according to organizers, is "visually rich, culturally inclusive and musically satisfying."

Admission is free. For more information, call 706-375-8001 or 706-375-3493.


* Hamilton Place: The final Santa Paws photo session at Hamilton Place, 2100 Hamilton Place Blvd., is 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. Visitors should enter through the Food Court and have their animals leashed or in a carrier. For more information, call 894-7177.

* Walnut Square Mall: Pet Photo Night with Santa Claus is 6-9 p.m. the next two Tuesdays, Nov. 27 and Dec. 4. The mall is at 816 Walnut Square Blvd. in Dalton, Ga. For more information, call 706-226-3777.

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