By the county courthouse, the city of Valdosta kicked off its first Downtown Holiday Open House and Festival.
The event featured local vendors, a horse-drawn carriage, arts and crafts and a Percussion Petting Zoo that drew hundreds of spectators and holiday dancers.
Even Santa made an appearance on his jumbo-size sleigh.
"It's a great atmosphere for families to come together and meet other people," said Monique Byrd, a graduate student at VSU. "And just see how-- what the meaning of Christmas really is. Being together, not just giving gifts, but the giving of each other."
Previously, the event was known as Winter Fest.
Valdosta's holiday parade starts at 5 p.m. and will run along Patterson Street.
Valdosta Main Street, the Downtown Valdosta Business Association (DVBA) and the Central Valdosta Development Authority (CVDA) also sponsored the festivities.
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