Do you ever long for the holidays of yesteryear when memories and family time were more important than material things? I know I do, and to that end, I really search for meaningful opportunities to create family synergy across the generations. I love steadfast holiday traditions and squeal like a five-year-old when I find a new one! This year my find is close to home (only four hours from Birmingham, Alabama) eliminating the need to fly or spend a fortune on gas. Thomasville, Georgia is planning for a Victorian Christmas Festival that I don’t want to miss!

You are likely wondering about the location of Thomasville. Geographically speaking, it is about 35 miles northeast of Tallahassee, Florida and 45 miles west of Valdosta, Georgia in the Red Hills Region. This year constitutes the 30th Anniversary of the FREE festival taking place on December 8-9, 2016 from 6-9 p.m. each night. Regulars look forward to classic traditions that draw some 15,000 folks to South Georgia each evening during the event.

Thomasville's Victorian Christmas

Thomasville closes the streets of their downtown district for this holiday extravaganza making room for shoppers to meander through the storefronts with their decked halls – some even offer in-store entertainment (think jazz bands and bell choirs). Sites to see throughout the downtown area include carolers, Victorian-era dressed performers, stilt walkers and more! Face painting for the kiddos is always a hit and of course, Santa will be on hand nightly, topped only by the FREE Ferris wheel and carousel rides!

Seasonal feelings are stirred with the live nativity performances and additionally, live demonstrations in candle-making, knitting, candy-making, blacksmithing and more, showcasing skills of another time. Choruses, solo singers, bands and fire performers don the main stage and you can end your evening with a dazzling horse and carriage ride ($5/person). Don’t worry about food – there will be food vendors serving up fantastic vittles ranging from kettle corn and homemade candies to stir fry and chicken pitas!

Thomasville's Victorian Christmas

Even though the festival ends on the 9th, Saturday the 10th from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. will carry over with Santa visits and FREE rides on the Ferris wheel and carousel. Downtown will be alive with shops and restaurants open for you to finish up your shopping list as well.

A great start to your trip is a stop at the Thomasville Visitors Center for city-wide information. If you plan to stay over, check out lodging options under the VISIT US tab at http://www.thomasvillega.com and choose from traditional chain hotels, bed and breakfasts or an RV park!

The Victorian Christmas Festival is an annual event presented by the City of Thomasville; the Ferris wheel is sponsored by Thomas County Federal (bank).

Photos are courtesy of the Thomasville Visitors Center.