Country Christmas to ring in holidays

KINGSTON — Kingston residents will have the chance to officially kick off the Christmas season this weekend, as various community groups dress the town in red, green and tinsel for the annual Kingston Country Christmas festival. Santa, too, will be making an appearance at the event, ready to hear wishes from good little girls and boys for the upcoming holiday.

For the past decade or so, the Kingston community has come together to celebrate the winter holidays with a list of activities almost as long as the big guy in red’s naughty or nice list. Event co-organizer Debbie Anderson said this year will be no different, as all Kingston venues prepare for holiday fun.

“We will have tractors around town, too, to give people rides,” she said. “I gotta say, the Santa pictures are the best. It’s just great to have these events in Kingston. I guess when I really feel like I take a deep breath is when Santa is set up and the first few photos have been taken.”

Anderson said she has been helping with organizing the event for the last four years, and her favorite part is watching the children with Santa. An additional plus this year is several of the Key Club students from Kingston High School will be assisting as Father Christmas’ helpers. Anderson joked elf ears are optional.

This year’s different events run from 11 a.m. to mid-evening, ending with the Hometown Band at the Redeemer Church on Shorty Campbell Road. Vendors, organized by Llamas 4 Love, will be at the Kingston Community Center from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Santa will also be there from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. handing out candy canes and listening to gift wishes. At 4 p.m., the Kingston Cove Yacht Club boats will show their colors during the boat parade, and at 5:30 p.m. Santa will arrive by fire engine at Mike Wallace Memorial Park for the Kingston tree lighting, at which there will also be bonfires, Anderson said.

“They’re going to do a tree lighting, and we’re doing much more than we have in the past,” said Port of Kingston Manager Mike Bookey. “We’re going to the limits of the electrical capabilities down here. It will be better next year, but we’re setting the traditions this year.”

Anderson said residents walking the town will also be charmed by carolers during the tree lighting, and will be able to heat up with hot chocolate and cider, as well as the bonfires.

“Yes, we did work with the fire department,” she said. “We’re using these safe things to have the bonfires, and they do know what we’re planning.”

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