THOMASVILLE, Ga. --The twenty-sixth annual Victorian Christmas will be held in Thomasville, Georgia on December 13 and 14. The event will be held downtown from 6 - 10 p.m.
Organizers say that the Victorian Christmas started, the affair was much smaller. A few businesses stayed open late, entertainment was arranged and it was publicized to visitors as a way to re-live Christmas of long ago in historic “Victorian Style” with St. Nick, costumed carolers and carriage rides on Broad Street.
Each year the tradition has grown. Though it began with only a few food vendors here and there, it has steadily encompassed more and more entertainment. Now, 26 years later, 30,000 people are expected to attend the celebration.
"This is THE Thomasville event. It personally brings back memories. Getting ready for Victorian Christmas makes me think of being a little girl, getting ready for the holidays – it is full of nostalgia," said downtown Thomasville merchant Kathy Murphy of Kathy’s Shoes. “People come from all over and the event means a lot to downtown Thomasville.”
The event is a huge production that will include 50 Victorian-garbed carolers, six horse-drawn carriages, 4,000 toasting marshmallows, 200 pounds of roasting chestnuts, and 22,500 lights strung throughout its historic downtown. In addition to those lights, there will be 75 lighted spheres suspended in the trees and 54 four-foot-tall toy soldiers mounted on lampposts.
This year, on-street entertainment is being scheduled and several performances will take place in the Municipal Auditorium. There are treats to be found around every corner of the event: St. Nick, marshmallow toasting and chestnut roasting, a Live Nativity, candy making demonstrations, decorated storefronts (some with Victorian Freeze Models) and more.
“Victorian Christmas kicks off the shopping Christmas season and is a good way to bring visitors into the store while creating a festive atmosphere,” said longtime downtown merchant, Ron Dixon whose store, Al Dixon’s Menswear, has been in Thomasville for 55 years. “As always, we’ll have the Tallahassee Bagpipers playing in front of the store, we’ll be serving hot apple cider and, of course, offering specials throughout the event.”
“Thomasville's Victorian Christmas is a refreshing celebration of times past when the holiday season takes on a sense of magic nostalgia that must be experienced. It is the convergence of sweet aromas of breads, candies and long awaited foods and gifts that are only available during this delightfully festive time,” described Arline Hampton, executive director-Main Street and Tourism and the Thomasville Visitors Center. “Victorian attire, music, strolling carolers, laughter, food and fun are precious jewels that make this event so special. Thomasville's Victorian Christmas allows one to step-back in time while enjoying the present – a time to continue to treasure life-long memories with old friends and build new memories with new acquaintances. Stroll downtown Thomasville's bricked paved streets spilling over with children, families and friends while consuming the ambience that only an old fashioned Victorian Christmas can bring – luminaries, table decorations, roasting of nuts and marshmallows, window shopping, and more. We all have our favorite memories about Christmas and Thomasville's Victorian Christmas will hopefully rejuvenate those most cherished.”
New traditions for the Victorian Christmas event continue to be added. Municipal Auditorium events will include school band concerts on the evening of December 12. Friday's performances in the Auditorium will include South Georgia Ballet's "Jingle All The Way", a rousing tap and jazz revue and The Rose City Strings Project.
“A true homage to a sense of community, the event involves every fiber of our neighborhood: City of Thomasville, Downtown Thomasville Main Street, Thomasville Visitors Center, and downtown merchants, just to list a few,” added Felicia Brannen, Event Coordinator.
“Victorian Christmas is a wonderful gathering of our community as well as visitors. It’s a great time to see friends you haven’t seen and enjoy the wonderful aromas and flavors of homemade goodies. My kids love the children’s activities and seeing Jolly Ole Saint Nicholas. Since I’m from Thomasville, it brings a real sense of home and happiness,” said Sherri Nix, tourism coordinator for the Thomasville Visitors Center, who has participated in more than half of the 26 celebrations and has watched the event grow over the years.
“As part of the Main Street/Tourism division of downtown, we all dress up in period costumes and stroll the streets…and pose for lots of photos! We have an informational table that includes a schedule of events for Victorian Christmas and information about Thomasville,” added Nix.
Thomasville is located 45 miles west of Valdosta, off I-75 on U.S. Highway 84 and 35 miles northeast of Tallahassee, Florida.