Guide to Holiday Shopping Events in Georgia

Downtown Thomasville decorated for the holidays

Shop downtown Thomasville during two festive events: Small Business Saturday Nov. 28 and the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11.

Find unique gifts for everyone on your list at these special holiday shopping events throughout Georgia. Stroll through historic downtowns filled with boutiques, specialty stores and galleries while the sounds of the season fill the air. Shop for handmade crafts and gifts you can’t find anywhere else, and treat yourself to a bite in a local café. Make holiday shopping a merry event this year in Georgia!

Nov. 24: Candlelight Shopping on the Square, Historic Downtown Washington

Nov. 24: Shopping by Lantern Light, Statesboro

Nov. 26: Christmas in Possum Snout, Tallapoosa

Nov. 28: Christmas at the Art Center, Blue Ridge

Nov. 28: Small Business Saturday in Downtown Thomasville

Nov. 28-29: Mistletoe Market & Sugar Plum Tea Room, North Georgia Technical College Campus, Blairsville

Nov. 28-Dec. 20 (weekends): Dublin Christkindlmarket (Traditional German Christmas Market), Dublin Carnegie

Nov. 30-Dec. 15: Christmas at Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, Atlanta

Dec. 1-4: Holiday Book Sale, Georgia Museum of Art, Athens

Dec. 3-4: Christmas Extravaganza, Downtown McRae

Dec. 4: First Fridays in Historic Downtown Brunswick

Dec. 4: First Friday, Downtown Valdosta

Dec. 4: Friday Night Live: Christmas in Downtown Woodstock

Historic Olde Town Conyers business district

Find special sales and promotions in the historic Olde Town Conyers business district during the Dec. 4 Christmas Party.

Dec. 4: Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party

Dec. 4: Downtown in December, Jefferson

Dec. 4-5: Christmas on the River, Savannah

Dec. 4-6: Art Dublin Holiday Gala & Show, Dublin-Laurens Museum & Cultural Center, Dublin

Dec. 5: Christmas in the Mountains, Downtown Cleveland

Dec. 5: Holiday Open House and Christmas Parade, Valdosta

Dec. 5: Back to Nature Holiday Market and Festival, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Roswell

Dec. 5-6: Home for the Holiday Expo, Gwinnett Center, Duluth

Dec. 5-6: Victorian Christmas Open House, National Civil War Naval Museum, Columbus

Dec. 5-13 (weekends): 8th Annual Christkindlmarkt, Helen

Dec. 5-19 (Saturdays): Georgia Winery’s Christmas Open House, Ringgold

Dec. 10: 13th Annual Hometown Christmas, Downtown Warrenton

Dec. 10: Girls’ Night Out, Valdosta

Children visit with Santa in Thomasville

Take the kids to visit with Santa in Thomasville during the Victorian Christmas Festival Dec. 10-11, 2015.

Dec. 10-11: Victorian Christmas Festival, Thomasville

Dec. 11-23 (select dates): Dinner & Shopping in Truett’s Barn, The Rock Ranch

Dec. 12: Nacoochee Village Christmas, Helen

Dec. 12: Christmas Cookie Walk, Good Samaritan Catholic Church, Ellijay

Dec. 17: Christmas in Royston

Through Dec. 22: Mistletoe Market, Arts Clayton Gallery, Jonesboro

Through Jan. 9: Holiday Show and Sale, The Art Center, Blue Ridge

Looking for more unique shopping destinations in Georgia? Read Shopping for Kids this Holiday Season, visit the Shopping Trip Ideas page, and find many more holiday events on the Events page. Subscribe to the Explore Georgia email newsletter to receive the latest events and deals directly in your inbox!

Top 5 Holiday Activities in Georgia’s Lake Country

christmas photos - elves

Georgia’s Lake Country is wrapped with traditional and delightful holiday events. From concerts and caroling to ice skating and Santa sightings, Greensboro, Madison, Eatonton and Milledgeville have you covered this holiday season.

1.) Sing Christmas carols, or….
Let others sing them! On December 2, the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center will host the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for a holiday concert.

Then on December 4, Georgia College’s Music Department presents a Holiday Concert at Russell Auditorium in #Milledgeville.

Ritz-Carlton Ice Skating

Go ice skating at the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro Nov. 25, 2015-Jan. 3, 2016.

2.) Go ice skating — the perfect way to get holiday spirit!
The Ritz-Carlton in #Greensboro will host its annual outdoor ice skating rink at the Pavilion. The rink opens November 25 and lasts until January 3. All the fun is topped off with hot cocoa! It’s an event that’s a blast for the whole family!

Madison Holiday Tour of Homes

Tour historic homes dressed up for the holidays in Madison Dec. 3-5, 3015.

3.) Take a tour of historic homes and sites.
December 3-5, step into #Madison’s Town & Country Holiday Tour of Homes. This event is one that you do not want to miss.

The Old Governor’s Mansion in Milledgeville will be open November 21-25 and then December 1-23. The mansion will be transformed into a winter wonderland!

Stepback, Georgia, in #Eatonton is a recreation of a 1900s community. Join the Pierce family on December 12 to “step back” into how Christmas was celebrated over 100 years ago!

Santa and Mrs. Claus in Milledgeville's Christmas Parade

See Milledgeville’s Christmas Parade Dec. 5, 2015

4.) Of course, See Santa!
Milledgeville welcomes #Santa with a parade down Main Street. This year’s parade is on December 5, and the theme is Sounds of the Season. Enjoy bands, festive floats and Santa!

On December 13, Crooked Pines Farm is bringing back “Santa & Sweets.” This event will wow your kids! Children will decorate cookies and have a one-on-one with Santa himself! Parents will receive a thumb drive with all of the photos of your children.

5.) Shop til you drop!
Eatonton hosts Christmas in the Briar Patch on December 5 from 3-6 p.m. Arts and crafts vendors will line the courthouse lawn. This is the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done! Stick around for “Light up the Night Christmas Parade” starting at 6 p.m. where Eatonton will welcome Santa to the square for free pictures with Santa!

For more information on these events, contact Maddie Atkinson with Georgia’s Lake Country.

Maddie AtkinsonMaddie Atkinson is a 2014 graduate from Georgia College in Milledgeville. After falling in love with Middle Georgia, Maddie decided to find a job there. After landing the tourism, marketing & special events position with the Eatonton-Putnam Chamber of Commerce, she began working actively on Georgia’s Lake Country marketing committee. She has since bought a house in Lake Country with her husband and two children.

Passion Soars at the Great Georgia Air Show

Jack Link's Screamin' Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows

Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch | Photo courtesy of John Klatt Airshows and Jack Link’s

For aerobatic pilot Jeff Boerboon, his nine-minute performance at the Great Georgia Air Show in Peachtree City this weekend is a small part of why he loves his job. His excitement really shines when he’s showing off the Jet Waco he flies, when he watches the audience react to the incredible spectacle before their eyes, and when he inspires the same kind of excitement in a young fan.

Meet Boerboon and several more talented aviators Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31-Nov. 1, at the Atlanta Regional Airport-Falcon Field. The Great Georgia Air Show is expected to bring 45,000 to Metro Atlanta, and while those numbers may not rival larger air shows elsewhere in the country, it allows for a more intimate and closer-to-the-action experience.

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off the Screamin' Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

John Klatt Airshows pilot Jeff Boerboon shows off Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch at the Great Georgia Airshow

What’s Special This Year?
Never before seen in Georgia, Jack Link’s Screamin’ Sasquatch takes to the sky, flown by Boerboon, who is a two-time Advanced National Champion in aerobatics. This one-of-a-kind biplane with the engine of a Lear Jet gives audiences the beauty of a 1920s aircraft with the wow factor of a modern-day machine. Boerboon can barely conceal his exhilaration when talking about what this plane can do, so you definitely do not want to miss his performance.

Mike Goulian and Sean Tucker, two living legends of flight, join Boerboon in the skies. Goulian was only 22 when he won the National Advanced Aerobatic Championship, and Tucker has been thrilling audiences since the 1970s. These veteran superstars will have your kids wanting to take to the skies themselves.

Without a doubt, the most exciting featured performance this year is that of the Blue Angels. Active members of the Navy and Marine Corps pilot these Boeing FA-18s at the highest speeds with the most impressive accuracy. This incredible performance hasn’t been seen in Metro Atlanta since 2010, so you do not want to miss it!

The U.S. Navy's demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

The U.S. Navy’s demonstration squadron will enchant visitors with a 90 minute show at the Great Georgia Air Show.

What to Do?
Bring the young ones! Not only will they marvel at the incredible feats of flying, but they’ll also love the family activities available throughout the weekend. They can jump on aviation-themed inflatables in the KidZone, ride on a giant monster truck or experience the show from the zipline.

Adults, you have the opportunity to check out the flight simulators or ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter!

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

Visitors to the Great Georgia Air Show can ride along in a U.S. Army helicopter.

A local favorite, the Great Georgia Air Show is bound to amaze and thrill airplane fans of all ages this weekend in Peachtree City. Buy tickets, and find directions and parking information on the air show website.

Your State Parks Day and Ice Cream Social at Panola Mountain

Your State Parks Day at Panola Mountain State ParkJoin over three-hundred volunteers and help improve local greenspaces during one of the largest volunteer events in Metro Atlanta. To celebrate Your State Parks Day and National Public Lands Day several impactful volunteer events have been scheduled including planting native wildflowers, cleaning up riverbanks and removing harmful invasive plants from sensitive habitat.

Volunteers can help in two beautiful locations. At Panola Mountain State Park volunteers will plant native wildflowers and help restore native habitat. Afterwards, they will be treated to a picnic lunch and commemorative tee-shirt courtesy of the Friends of Georgia State Parks. They can also enjoy yard games and ice cream. Becky Kelley, Director of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites said, “Volunteers have enormous impact on the health and well-being of parks and bring these unique places into the hearts of the community.” At Wade-Walker Park a massive cleanup will be followed by a family fun day. Both locations will work on volunteer projects from 9 AM to noon and celebrate from noon to 2 PM.

This event was created through a new coalition of nonprofits including the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance, The Nature Conservancy, Park Pride and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. However, the seeds for this volunteer bonanza were planted when Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced a public-private partnership aimed at recruiting one million volunteers for public lands. “Magnificent landscapes and our strong volunteer ethic are part of what make America so special and unique,” Secretary Jewell said.

Group and individual RSVPs are still being accepted and everyone is encouraged to give back during this national day of service! Register for Panola Mountain State Park here or Wade-Walker Park here.

Follow the event live on Facebook and Twitter with hashtags #Yvolunteer and #MoveMountains!

If you can’t make it to Panola Mountain State Park or Wade-Walker Park, you’re sure to find a Your State Parks Day event near you!

Kimberly EstepWhen not putting her savvy communication skills to use at the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, Kimberly Estep can most often be found wandering over hiking trails with her two dogs.  Most of all, Kimberly loves sharing her knowledge of the hidden gems of Georgia with anyone who will listen.

Petit Le Mans Drifts into Road Atlanta

Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta

Photo courtesy of YAER Productions

The 18th Annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda roars into action September 30 through October 3 at Road Atlanta. Before you go, here’s what you need to know:

Getting There
Location – Road Atlanta is located in Braselton, Georgia – easily accessed by I-985 or I-85 via the Highway 53 exit.

Parking – There is infield parking for $50 or, for free, you can park across the street and ride the shuttle between the track and the parking lot.

Schedule of Events
The 10-hour sportscar endurance championship race is on October 3. The other three days will showcase practices, qualifying and races for four additional feature series. Check out the full schedule here.

Who’s Racing?
Plenty of professional drivers competing in the race live locally. Bryan Sellers, Spencer Pumpelly, Andy Lally and Sean Rayhall will seek to be first past the checkered flag in front of their home crowd!

Where to Watch
Turn 1 Park your RV, car or camping chairs outside Turn 1 to watch all of pitlane, the front straight and up into Turn 1.

Turn 3 – This is a great location to make new friends while standing along the fence watching down into the famous Road Atlanta esses.

Spectator Hill – The most famous of Road Atlanta viewing locations, you can bring a picnic or choose food options from vendors and watch the action while sitting in the grass overlooking the esses.

Turn 7 – This is a great place to see cars try and close the gaps in Turns 6 and 7 as they shift through two technical corners before shooting down one of the longest straightaways in motorsports.

The Bowl – With terrace-style seating, this is another convenient location to watch great racing. Spectators can see down into Turns 9, 10a and 10b and under the Patron Bridge, all while being in close proximity to Vendor Village.

Paddock – Watch the hustle and bustle of teams bringing cars back to their transporters for repair. Lots of action on this side!

Pre-Race at Petit Le Mans

Photo courtesy of YAER Productions

Kids enter for free – All kids 12 and under are admitted for free with a ticketed adult!

Vendor Village – Fans can purchase food, drinks and plenty of souvenirs, and see displays from top manufacturers and the series.

Open paddock – The paddock is always free and open to fans. You can get up close and personal with the teams, cars and drivers.

Grid walk – Before the start of the race, fans can walk among their favorite cars and drivers immediately prior to the field taking the green flag.

Autograph session – Fans can take pictures and get autographs from their favorite drivers on Friday.

Petit Pit Stop – Families can bring their kids to get faces painted and play in the kids zone.

Picnic – With 750 acres of park-like green space, there’s plenty of room to find shade or sunshine and enjoy a snack.

Camping – With reserved and walk-up options, there’s plenty of space for all spectators to get a great view from their campsite.

Car corrals – See plenty of eye candy from your favorite manufacturers at Petit Le Mans.

Night practice and night racing – Fans can see the cars racing under the stars on Thursday night and once the sun goes down on Saturday night for the big finale.

Race Night at Petit Le Mans

Photo courtesy of YAER Productions

Visitors can grab food in the Vendor Village, or you can bring your own. However, while alcohol will be on sale at the track, it cannot be brought into the venue.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate or in advance. Check online for ticket prices.