One of Sylvania's favorite Christmas traditions is back, and guests will see some new festivities featured. Screven County Chamber of Commerce has once again organized its "Christmas Extravaganza" for 3-7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11. More than 30 vendors will be stationed around downtown Sylvania offering a variety of food and gifts for shoppers. Kids can enjoy those plus bounce houses, amusement rides, s'mores and photos with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Chamber President Grace Waits said one new change to this year is that Santa will be in the old theater building, which will be decorated to make the photographs more attractive. Families will take photos with their own cameras.
Another addition to the festival will be a snowball fight with artificial snowballs in Screven Health and Wellness.
This year's theme is "Christmas Around the World" and the nearby businesses will be setting up displays to reflect that theme. A trophy will be given to the business with the best display. Chris Griner of Ross Drug said via Messenger that, as of Dec. 2, they were considering something themed around the Disney ride "It's a Small World After All." Little Dipper is planning a nativity scene with a "For God so loved the world" message.
An even bigger nativity setup is happening across the street. For the first time, the live nativity by First Christian Church has been expanded into a "Walk Thru Bethlehem" experience. Groups of 15 to 20 people will be led by tour guides through what looks like biblical-era Bethlehem as they look for Baby Jesus. Area churches will set up booths and congregants will be dressed as merchants, shepherds and other townsfolk. The tour will start in the area between Truist Bank and Farmers & Merchants Bank.
As always, the festival will end with the Parade of Christmas Lights where people decorate whatever vehicle they have in Christmas lights and holly-jolly decor.
"This is a time just to kind of bring our community together," Waits said. "It celebrates the season, it brings business to our downtown, and just promotes how beautiful our downtown is. It just brings the spirit of Christmas."
Those interested in being a vendor or taking part in the parade can visit the chamber's office on South Main Street in Sylvania or go to screvencounty.com.
This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Christmas Extravaganza in downtown Sylvania is on Saturday