Columbus to host Home Town Christmas celebration

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Parade, live nativity, other festivities to take place Saturday

COLUMBUS — The Columbus Fire Department decided to bring Christmas back to the community this year.

The fire department, Discover Columbus and other organizations are sponsoring a Home Town Christmas celebration, which will take place at 6 p.m. this Saturday in Stearns Park. The festivities will begin after the town’s Christmas parade, which begins at 4 p.m. downtown.

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The theme of this year’s Home Town Christmas is “The Night Before Christmas.”

The Columbus Fire Department and other organizations have worked this year to organize a Home Town Christmas event, which will take place this Saturday. The annual Christmas parade will start downtown at 4 p.m., with the Home Town Christmas beginning after the parade in Stearns Park. There will be Santa, carolers, a live nativity scene, hot chocolate, a canned food/gift drive and the lighting of the Christmas tree. above: Cole Lumbus sports a Santa hat. (Photo by Leah Justice/Tryon Daily Bulletin)

A live nativity scene will be set up at the Columbus Methodist Church, located across the street from Stearns. There will also be 8-foot tall books of “The Night Before Christmas.”

Children can visit with Santa Claus. There will also be hot chocolate and carolers.

Participants are encouraged to bring canned goods and unwrapped new gifts that will be distributed to needy families in Polk County.

“There’s been nothing in this county for quite a while for Christmas,” said Capt. Lewis McSwain, with the fire department. “We felt we really needed to do something more. We wanted to make this year more community involved. We want to give something back to the children and citizens.”

Many organizations have been involved in the planning and sponsorship of this year’s event. The Columbus Presbyterian Church will give out hot chocolate and cookies, the Methodist Church will host the live nativity scene and the Columbus Baptist Church will handle the collection point for the canned food and toy drive.

“All toys will be donated to the Polk County Toy Run, and the food will be donated to needy families in the county,” McSwain said.

Other organizations involved include the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbus Police Department, Discover Columbus, Steps to HOPE, the Meeting Place Senior Center, Polk County EMS, the town of Columbus, Polk Vocational Services, Mill Spring First Baptist Church and Polk County Schools Superintendent Aaron Greene.

Santa will be at the gazebo in Stearns Park around 7-7:30 p.m. The fire department will light the Christmas tree, which is 12 feet tall.

Santa will hand out candy canes, with everything free to the public thanks to many donations, including Champion Woodworks, which donated all the wood for the nativity scene, and Southern Manners, which donated the paper for the books and the town of Columbus.

“It’s time to get back to community,” Columbus Fire Chief Tony Priester said.

The fire department also recently got a new Santa letter box, which should be displayed at Stearns Park by Wednesday for children to send letters.