ELLIJAY, Ga. – What’s better than sitting in a comfy warm chair with a beautifully theme-decorated Christmas tree, some Christmas music playing in the background, a warm drink in your hands, and some friends gathered to enjoy it with you? Well, 34 trees of course.
That is 34 different trees and wreaths gathered from the community to decorate the Gilmer County Library in celebration for the season. Being the 25th consecutive year of the annual Festival of Trees, the library has become experts at celebrating the season as they opened their doors late into the evening on December 3 for people of the community to pack inside for the event. Packing in is exactly what they did to see the first official day of the December-long celebration.
With entities like the Gilmer Chamber, Stay Active Ellijay, THRIFT, Gilmer County Master Gardeners, Kids Ferst, Safe Choice Pregnancy Care Center, Walnut Mtn, Garden, American Legion Auxiliary, Operation Christmas Child, Optimist Club, Dept of Juvenile Justice, Chattahoochee Technical College, Friends of Harrison Park, Southern Flare Antiques, Mountain Education Center, Keep Gilmer Beautiful, Girl Scouts, Re-Max, ABG, Small Batch Garden, North Georgia Mountain Crisis Network, Gilmer County Parks & Rec Department, Marine Toys for Tots, Boys and Girls Club, Apple Contry Quilters Guild, Cub Scout Pack 404, Coosawattee Shrine Club, Friends of the Gilmer County Library, Garden Club of Ellijay, 4-H, Gilmer Genealogical Society, Faith,Hope, and Charity, and more, the Festival grows each year to the massive events it has become with crowds looking to meet Santa for pictures, listen to live music, and enjoy the trees.
This years event saw the Ellijay Elementary Chorus and Mountain Spirit Dulcimer Group playing through the evening while activities continued.
Yet, more than just a one-night event, the Festival of Trees really kicks off the Sequoyah Regional Library’s Christmas Season. Gilmer alone is hosting the Grinch to visit on December 11, a Holiday Card Making event on December 6, and a continuing Winter Literacy Challenge going on until January. Check out more events for Gilmer on their Facebook Calender and the Region and the Regional Library Calendar.
That doesn’t meant you missed your chance to see the trees. Make sure to swing by the Gilmer County Library to enjoy the ongoing Festival of Trees before Christmas to fully enjoy the decorations made possible by the county and community.
Make sure to see photos of the trees by visiting the FYN Facebook Photo Album.
Thanksgiving 2018 has come and gone and about all we really know about it comes from
commercial sources. Through the constant drumming of the media we are basically told all we
need to know about Thanksgiving, when to start, when to stop and, by the way, ‘don’t forget
those great deals on Black Friday’ because, well, Christmas is just around the corner and after
all, America’s economy depends on commercialism. Their point is, It’s okay to go into debt but
don’t eat the Romaine lettuce. Is it who we really are? Apparently!
But this year I sense a distinct change in the atmosphere. I’ve heard more detailed explanations
of the real Pilgrims story at Plymouth, Mass. in attempts to correct the re-written history some
elements in our society want us to accept. I feel a perceptible shifting of moral values going on
and I sense a not so subtle shift back to religious faith especially as the destructive tenants of
Islam are flooding our country. The leadership of our churches, long beaten into compliance to
accept the dictates of a secular society, must return to their mission of spreading the gospel and
abandon the demand that we must accept the perverted deviancy of 1% of our population that
demands acceptance, without consequence.
What Americans know about Christmas is mostly suggested to us by the years of Macy’s Day
parades, Hollywood movies and Coca-Cola. TV quickly changed our values. Decades ago,
Coca-Cola embraced Clement Moore’s poem, A Christmas Carol, “Twas the Night Before
Christmas” and lo, we now have an indisputably accepted short, fat, happy ol’ elf who enters
homes down chimney pipes, never gets dirty and enjoys their product while winking at us.
When I was a little boy, a world war was underway yet the traditions of Christmas, and even
then they were commercial, were anticipated and observed. We decorated Christmas trees, had
special seasonal attractions and attended Church programs singing hymns while we little
children read or recited memorized snippets of scripture to the audience. I recall my surprise
upon learning that even Germans soldiers observed Christmas, indeed was responsible for
introducing the Christmas tree as a tradition. And, they sang “Silent Night.” What a revelation.
Among the big traditions were Christmas cards. My mother saved Christmas cards for years
and she gave them out in profuse qualities herself. Those that came to me, mostly from mothers
friends and sisters, were scenes depicted as cartoons. Family cards were actually incredible
works of art depicting scenes of happy home fires or snow, doubtless of a Victorian England, the
country where greeting cards and Santa Clause were introduced as a tradition.
Until Coca Cola’s depiction, St. Nick was tall and skinny, a poor emaciated figure, hungry
looking with a limp bag hanging over his shoulder. None of that has changed except Santa’s
size, but I am sensing once again, with Christmas day still weeks away, a change in the public
attitude, a realization that a prosperous America is returning even with all its social problems of
drug addictions, homelessness and hunger. I feel a sincere longing to return to our old traditions
where good cheer and happiness are not feigned but heartfelt; where charity is freely given
without conditions and people actually enjoy helping other people.
But, we must be careful and not allow the Left to peculate our good thing and introduce social
changes we know to be destructive to a free peoples. Government in the hands of Progressives,
will sweep all that away and the once shining city on the hill idea, as Ronald Reagan coined it,
will be but a footnote in history. We must strive to preserve all of our God given liberties.
Remember, freedom is the goal, the Constitution is the way. Now, go get ‘em! (29Nov18)
By: Eddie Ayers, County Extension Agent
In my opinion, there is nothing like a fresh Christmas tree in the home. Artificial trees look more
natural now than when I was growing up, but they are not the same. Choosing a fresh tree
should be a fun family affair, but you also want to get the best value for your money.
So let’s start with how to select a fresh tree. First, determine where in your home you will
display your tree so that you will be able to tell what size and shape you need. Next, if possible,
cut the tree yourself. This will provide the best opportunity to have a fresh tree throughout the
Christmas season, but you still need to care for it like you would any other “live” tree. If you are
choosing a pre-cut tree, you need to do a freshness test on it before you bring it home so hold a
branch about 6 inches from the tip then pull your hand toward the tip, allowing the branch to slip
through your fingers. Very few green needles should come off in your hand if the tree is fresh.
Here’s another freshness test: lift the tree a couple of inches off the ground, then bring it down
abruptly on the stump end. If the tree is fresh, outside green needles should not fall off in
substantial numbers. Remember, inside needles do turn brown and shed naturally every year.
Now let’s look at how to care for a fresh tree. The most important thing to remember has to do
with water. These trees need water daily, just like a fresh bouquet of flowers. You’ll want to
remember to keep plenty of water in the stand at all times. If you are choosing a stand, be sure
and choose one that has a big water storage area. A Christmas tree may absorb a gallon of water
in the first 24 hours it’s up and between two pints to a gallon of water a day thereafter. Check
the stand daily and supply fresh water as needed. If the water supply runs out, a seal will form
on the cut surface of the tree trunk and the tree will not absorb water and dry out. If the water
runs out, a new cut should be made.
When a tree is first cut, a seal of sap occurs naturally over its stump which keeps moisture in the
tree. It’s important to break that seal to allow the tree to take up water needed to keep it fresh
throughout the holidays. Once you’ve selected your tree and you have it at home, make a fresh
cut across the base of the trunk, ¼ inch up from the original cut. Put it in a bucket of water and
protected from the sun and wind until you get ready to move it indoors. If you are selecting a
balled and burlap tree, first make sure that the tree will grow in our area and second do not let the
root ball dry out as the tree will not survive when planted outside.
When you do bring the tree indoors, position it away from heat sources such as fireplaces,
radiators, heat vents, and television sets. When it’s time to put the lights on and trim the tree,
first test your light cords and connections before hanging them on the tree to make sure they are
in good working condition, without cracked insulation or broken sockets, and make sure all the
sockets are filled. Once you get the lights on, then it’s time to finish trimming and enjoy, but
don’t forget to unplug the lights when you go to bed or leave home. Never leave a tree with the
lights on unattended!
For more information, contact me at the Gilmer County UGA Extension office.
ELLIJAY, Ga – Despite numerous weather and climate hurdles including a cold evening sharpened by winds and rain at times, the Downtown Ellijay Business and Community Association (DEBACA) is reporting a very successful year.
With some changes like the absence of the town of Bethlehem that First Baptist Church hosted at last year’s event and added security measures, this year’s event was noticeably different than 2017. Changes that both DEBACA Chairman Steve Cortes and Ellijay Police Chief Edward Lacey praise as improvements to the event.
One major safety improvement that both parties noted separately was barricades set up to block the parking spaces on the roundabout, allowing pedestrians to safely view both the tree lighting and parade apart from traffic and parade vehicles. While these barricades have been used for the majority of 2018, this is the first Light-Up Ellijay event they have been used. The major difference being that this parade is largely held in the dark with lights on the float and the town decorations illuminating the area.
Chief Lacey noted this year’s event went “very smooth” as they conducted safety and traffic control with six on-duty officers. He also reported no traffic issues during the event and the after-event surge.
The parade hosted around 35 different groups, according to Cortes, and just under 20 vendors in the temporary market throughout the day. Though he says DEBACA did scale back on certain things, the event still pulled in one of the best business days for downtown merchants despite the tree-lighting ceremony being interrupted with a 5-minute rain shower and a continuing sprinkling of rain until the parade.
Lacey referred to the event as a “more traditional Light-Up Ellijay event.” With Santa Claus appearing on the city steps just before 2:00 p.m. and the market on Broad Street quickly following, citizens and merchants in downtown seem to agree saying, “no question its safer and more efficient.”
Along the lines of balancing Light-Up Ellijay between a tourism event and a local event, Cortes told FYN that despite cancelling the Whoville earlier in November, there are still plans to return to it in coming years. However, he did add that DEBACA has been considering multiple options including hosting Whoville in partnership with another organization with available manpower to host the event on a separate day from Light-Up Ellijay and more cosplay actors to enlarge it on its own.
With possibilities for the future of Light-Up Ellijay being discussed, Cortes also noted the he, personally, thinks that the events success could continue into next year by adding to the parade size and seeking opportunities for the marching band or live-music of some sort.
Citizens, law-enforcement, and business owners all seem to agree that Light-Up Ellijay was indicative of continuing a bright future for Ellijay’s Downtown Events.
Karla joins BKP for her weekly Karla’s Korner segment. Tune in every Thursday at 8:30am
Mountain View Elementary (MVE) is proud to announce winners of the Piedmont Christmas Card Contest. This year Piedmont teamed up with local schools in a search for a creative design for their holiday card. This year’s theme was My Christmas Wish.
Pictured from left to right are, April Smith, MVE assistant principal, Misti Foster, art teacher, Jaycie Beaver, $50 winner, Caleb Foster, $100 winner, Solange Van Tuyl Ramirez, $100 winner, and Charles Walker, MVE principal.
The MVE art program will also receive a $500 donation from the hospital to purchase art supplies. All cards were distributed to patients in Piedmont’s care during the holiday season. Thank you to all who participated and to Piedmont Hospital.
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!
dawhodoorah let’s welcome Christmas in Ellijay!
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)