If you didn’t officially kick off the holiday season with Black Friday, Small Business Saturday or Cyber Monday shopping then maybe you are waiting for some local event to officially boot you into the holiday spirit.

Come Home to a Franklin County Christmas marks the official start of the holiday season in Rocky Mount tonight. The event kicks off with the Biggest Little Parade at 5:30 p.m. to take Santa Claus to the North Pole where children will be welcomed with games, train rides and bounce houses. Musical acts such as Promise Land, The Marc Templeton Band, Seph Custer and Wound Tight will fill downtown with music throughout the evening.

Meanwhile, the tree at the county courthouse has been lit for the season, and light poles have been decorated adding charm to the town. Santa has begun annual visits such as at Bridgewater Plaza on Nov. 30 and Christmas music plays on local radio stations.

Parades have been scheduled. There will be two in Rocky Mount this year: the annual Franklin County Christmas parade steps off Sunday, Dec. 8 at 3 p.m. from Tanyard Road and continues down South Main Street to Floyd Avenue and ends at North Main and Pell Avenue. This year’s theme for the Rotary-sponsored parade is “Christmas Memories.”

A second parade has been announced for Dec. 14 at 6 p.m. The new Emergency Services Christmas Parade steps off at Benjamin Franklin Middle School and will end at Ply Gem on Pell Avenue.

STEP Into Christmas will also be held this Saturday. The second annual home tour serves as a major fundraiser for Solutions That Empower People (STEP)and features six historic Rocky Mount homes in the Claiborne Avenue neighborhood. The tour is a good opportunity to support a local nonprofit and see homes that aren’t typically open to the public.

Annual food drives and charitable giving pleas have been circulating and collections have begun. This is the time of year charities usually receive the most donations; however, it is important to remember to support these nonprofits year-round, as most of their services are not just once–a-year endeavors.

There are annual drives that strive to make holidays a special time for families in need, too. Toy drives for Christmas presents and the Operation Christmas Tree sale saw another successful year, thanks to the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The big green bus was at Walmart Thursday to also take donations for the program. Rocky Mount Police are collecting food items currently to help feed approximately 25 local families this Christmas. The Office of Aging is also hosting a senior giving tree.

The holiday season may mean many things to many people, but whether you start your holiday season as soon as the pumpkin wilts or with the post-Thanksgiving shopping crowds, remember to take in the holiday season. Attend a local holiday event, shop local, support local charities and be kind to your neighbor.

Wishing you all the best this holiday season, the staff at The Franklin News Post.

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