On Friday, December 16the streets of downtown Atlanta will transform into a Christmas wonderland for families and friends to enjoy.

For the fourth year in a row, the Atlanta Area Young Professionals Network will host Hometown Christmas, a festival event meant to encourage local families and visitors alike to make holiday memories.

Raegan Rice, a middle school English teacher at Atlanta Independent School District, was a founding member of the Atlanta Young Professionals Network.

“We want to give people who might have grown up in Atlanta and moved away a reason to bring their families back for Christmas,” Rice said. “The purpose of Young Professionals Network is to make Atlanta a great place to raise a family. It’s a charming town, with lots to offer, and we want to make sure it stays that way.”

The event is slated for this Friday from 5-10PM, and will offer something for everyone. Santa will bring his live reindeer to Price Hardware. A photographer will be on hand taking photos, which will be included in the price of the wristband. A snow hill will be set up in the parking lot across from Luigi’s, with tubes for tubing. A candy shop, also included with the price of the wristband, will be set up at Terri’s Treasures. Magic shows will be held at FlipNCheer Gym, train rides will take off from the library, and horse and carriage rides will board at Hiram and East Street.

There will also be live music which will float through the streets, provided by Dazz and Brie, and cookies and hot chocolate will be given away in front of Roux-ga-Roux Seafood. Children can make ornaments at Mission Atlanta, and vendors will be on hand selling hand crafted items and fair-like food. The Rabbit Patch, Luigi’s and Uncle Juan's will also be open for hungry families during the event.

Wristbands for the event provide access to all the activities provided, and cost $15 each. Children under 3 years of age will need a $5 wristband for all activities except tubing on the snow hill. Parents will need a wristband if they ride the horse and carriage, or kiddie train, or participate in any other activities.

Organizer, Kayla Howard, explains how the event is funded and how the community can help.

“We have been so blessed with many sponsors throughout the community who make this event possible,” she said. “Namely, CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital-Atlanta, and the Atlanta City Development Corporation, who are the underwriters of the event. Without them, it wouldn’t be a reality. It takes approximately $15,000 of funds raised to put on the event each year.”

“We still need volunteers to help keep the event running smoothly,” Howard said. “We need people to keep Santa’s line in order, hand out candy at the Candy Shop, make sure people get on and off the train safely, and much more. We would love to have volunteers for a couple hours on Dec. 16."

The young professional group is also seeking carolers for the event. If anyone has a choir, or performing group who would like to carol at the event, please contact the Young Professionals.

Tickets may be purchased online.

For more information about Hometown Christmas, to volunteer, or become involved, contact Lisa Thompson at lisa.thompson@txkusa.org or (903) 244-5591.

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