Augustans began lining Broad Street nearly an hour prior to the Christmas Light Up Spectacular and Christmas Parade on Saturday afternoon. Local high schools, civic organizations and local leaders were among the participants in the parade.
Gail Reynolds began attending the parade when her children participated while attending high school. She said she comes now to remember those times.
“It also just helps me get into the Christmas spirit,” she said. “The Christmas decorations, the bands playing music and everyone in Christmas clothes are all just a part of what makes the season so great.”
Following the parade, many families gathered at the Augusta Common for ice skating, music, train rides, cookie decorating and visits with Santa at Augusta on Ice, which offered free general admission for Augusta’s day of Christmas festivities.
The inaugural event kicked off on Nov. 17 and will continue until Jan. 6. Mary Thorton said this was her family’s first visit to Augusta on Ice but they will likely return before Christmas.
“The kids are having a blast, and we get to have fun seeing them have fun,” Thorton said. “It’s a win-win.”
Community members continued to gather at the Common through the rest of the afternoon, playing croquet and cornhole until dark, when the city’s Christmas tree was officially lit for the season.
At the same time the Christmas tree lighting occurred, the Augusta University sign at 699 Broad St. was also illuminated for the first time since it was placed on the former Wells Fargo building in mid-November.
Earlier this year, AU Health signed an agreement to lease more than 30,000 square feet of the city’s third-tallest building. The 17-story building’s name is now Augusta University on Broad.