Festival of Trees kicks off season at Gilmer’s Library

News

ELLIJAY, Ga – Once again, the Gilmer County Library has opened its season for the Festival of Trees.

Lasting through most of December, until the twenty-second, the Festival is open for viewing for free on the library’s main floor. Library Manager Heath Lee tells FYN the 22 trees come from all over the county with trees from Stay Active Ellijay, Girls Scouts, Yaarabs Shrine Team 17, Walnut Mountain Garden Club, Toys for Tots and others. In addition, the library staff built their Elf banner to reading.

The Opening of the Festival, held Nov. 27, saw the Gilmer Jazz Cats and High School Chorus both headlining the night’s activities alongside “Make-and-Take” crafts with 4-H, a visit from Rackley the Reading Dog, a visit from Santa to speak with kids the entirety of the night, and refreshments while citizens viewed the trees. Lee estimated about 350 people attended the annual event.

The trees also host the Christmas season as the library will be presenting more events during the Festival. Lee was excited for key events like a visit from the Grinch to the library on Dec. 2. The Grinch will be there for kids and families. The Grinch will be hosting the families in their pajamas and “who-hair” for the event.

December 13 will see Christmas from all over the world visiting Ellijay through the use of VR (Virtual Reality) with Oculus Rift devices, The cultural experience program will allow visitors to virtually travel to countries all over the world to see how Christmas is celebrated. Learning local traditions and hearing legends of Santa will focus as the program will also allow families to make crafts to take home from the event as well.

Even more will be available throughout the month. Visit the Gilmer Library Calendar for more information and to plan the best time for your family to come see Gilmer’s Festival of Trees.

(Videos provided by Brandy Setser)

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Ellijay lights up with historic crowd

Community, News
First Baptist Church of Ellijay brought Bethlehem to Ellijay with a stroll through their market and a visit to a very familiar inn and manger.

First Baptist Church of Ellijay brought Bethlehem to Ellijay with a stroll through their market and a visit to a very familiar inn and manger.

ELLIJAY, Ga – Anyone watching social media for our local area on Friday saw part of the major crowds overfilling the downtown area for Light Up Ellijay.

In fact, the event grew so much over recent years, officials were forced to call in extra help to direct the crowd. The parade saw a minor delay to start as crowds spilled out into the street, having nowhere to stand. By the time of the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m., the crowd had deadlocked traffic with some even parking and stepping out of their vehicles for 30 seconds to watch the lighting.

Vendors set up onto Broad Street while First Baptist Church of Ellijay brought the town of Bethlehem to the area with a staged area in their rear parking lot. Hosting people in full costume, complete with Roman solders, basket weavers, shepherds and even an angel or two, the town brought the ancient times to life as visitors were even asked to sign the “census” upon entering the fenced area.

Citizens dressed up to celebrate the Whoville theme for this year's Light Up Ellijay.

Citizens dressed up to celebrate the Whoville theme for this year’s Light Up Ellijay.

Even more poured into the downtown boardwalk as the Grinch himself made an appearance for photos and children. Santa and Mrs. Claus met kids as well on the courthouse steps for photos before all of them retreated to Ellijay Elementary School to prepare for the parade.

The Grinch came as a part of this year’s Whoville theme. Citizens, visitors and parade walkers alike all dressed for the occasion, adding a whimsical look to the already decorated tree and town.

As time drew near for the night time festivities, those in the vendor area, Bethlehem and boardwalk all began moving towards the roundabout, forcing many to stand out in the street.

One family said they had set up their seats on the roundabout at 2:30 p.m. However, that family, and others, were disappointed as no one but the kids in front sat to watch the parade.  Some onlookers complained of the crowds saying they wouldn’t be returning next year. Others wouldn’t let the crowd dampen their spirits, instead welcoming them saying they have never seen the city so popular.

Crowds spilled into the roundabout causing traffic and space issues with an historic crowd downtown.

Crowds spilled into the roundabout causing traffic and space issues with an historic crowd downtown.

Indeed, so many people came downtown that extra hands like Gilmer County Public Safety Director Tony Pritchett voluntarily joined the city police to aid in crowd control. Although no official count could be made, estimates from city police officers soared from 10,000 to 15,000 people before the night had concluded. Festivities began around noon and continued late into the night with Abby’s Ice Cream and Frozen Yogurt hosting a dance party in their parking area immediately after the parade.

An overall amazing year brought the crowds out, but is also causing the city to retreat for meetings to respond. A number of people that downtown Ellijay has not experienced at one time during even the Apple Festival Weekends has called for officials to rethink plans for next year.

FYN has requested comments from officials on the night and Ellijay Chief of Police Edward Lacey has already agreed to speak with FYN once their meetings this week conclude.

Make sure to follow us over to our Facebook Album to see more Photos from Light Up Ellijay.

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Whoville is Returning to Ellijay!

Community

Downtown Ellijay will once again be transformed into Whoville this Holiday Season!
Join us on November 24 for a celebration even the Grinch can’t steal!
We plan to have vendors and will provide vendor information when it is available!
🎄The tree lighting on the square will be at 5:30 with the parade of whos at 6pm. 🎄
Parade applications will be provided soon.
There will be pictures with Santa and of course the Grinch!
Everyone is invited to dress in their best whoville costumes for the event!
Keep checking back for more details and added events and activities to come!
🎶da🎶who🎶door🎶ah let’s welcome Christmas in Ellijay!

Christmas In July at North GA Diamond

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East Ellijay Updates for Year’s End

News

Several updates came through East Ellijay’s City Council Meeting Tuesday night, December 13, including the continuation of the annual Christmas Meal Program and a possible change to your garbage pick-up.

The Council happily approved the continuation of their Christmas Meal Program for Senior and Needy Citizens. A program that has been held since the early 2000’s, this program offers turkeys or hams to citizens over 65 and citizens in need for the holidays. The program, which costs the city roughly $700, is supported by local businesses such as the Food Lion, who Mayor Mack West stated was very interested in helping this year.

Mayor West also stated those businesses usually offer a special price to the city for the food as well. However, as the cities population ages, new people have been added to the list to receive the gift for the holiday season with over 40 possible people for this year alone. The City’s gift of the turkey or ham has received great praise over the years and the council’s approval has set it to continue through this Holiday Season.

As the season continues, though, the Council has already begun looking to next year as the Council Approved Changes to the parameters of the Position/Classification Pay Plan for 2017. These changes are to follow state regulations as a couple of officials salary increases. Regulating the high and low ends of an employees pay scale, the update is set to affect two employees according to Mayor West.

Another change citizens will be looking into came as the Council discussed changing the Bi-Weekly Garbage Collection from Sunday and Wednesday to a Monday and Thursday pick-up. Mayor West suggested the change comes to aid in safety and liability for the county. As the council approved the change at their meeting, they are still working on if they will change the time of pick-up to avoid traffic.

The City Council has additionally purchased a new Kubota Front Loader with Bucket from Nelson Tractor Co. The $4,550 purchase will include the attachment that the Street Department Manager will be utilizing on his personal Kubota for the county’s use. Mayor West stated, “We don’t need a tractor full time. We don’t need to buy a $75,000 tractor.” As the equipment is installed on the tractor, the City will pay $50 an hour for the use of Department Manager’s Chipper and Tractor in City Functions.

One note for the meeting came as the Meeting moved to new business applications including National Loan located at 136 First Ave. There were name changes of the Wok becoming East Town Pub, and the Pourhouse becoming Whiskey River Tavern. However, one new business application was tabled due to a need for further investigation. The application was for the Smoke Shop located on Maddox Drive.

The Mayor’s Report also brought up new information on several areas of the City. Debbie Sadler delivered a JDA (Joint Development Authority) report to the City suggesting several possible projects that both East Ellijay and the County as a whole could be seeing in the coming year. While she declined speaking on details, Sadler did suggest to the county that a few of the possible projects could aid in the County’s Tourism efforts as well as the possibility of a government related project looking for 10,000 square feet.

 

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Tea Party of Gilmer County extends invitation to Annual Christmas Party!

Announcements

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Light up Blue Ridge ~ November 25th 2016!

Community, Featured

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Elvis Visits Gilmer County Nursing Home for Christmas Concert

Community

Elvis aka Harold Schulz put on quite the show Thursday night, December 10th.  The Gilmer Nursing Home had a room filled with anxiously waiting residents for the Christmas Concert with Elvis.  The show was courtesy of the Ellijay Lions Club and included a pizza party.  The evening began with Tammy Baker, Activity Director, LPN at Gilmer County Nursing Home leading the room in Christmas Carols.

Elvis came on the scene and put on a great show.  There was so much joy in the room with happy residents singing along, and even some dancing.  The concert included Christmas songs, gospel songs, and some of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits.  It was a wonderful event and a great celebration! Enjoy the videos and photos which captured part of the magical night.

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