If the stress of the holidays is getting you down, then take a break from the pressures of decorating, throwing parties and running to the mall to enjoy free family fun at the Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party.
Scheduled for Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. on the streets of Olde Town Conyers, the party offers complimentary horse and carriage rides, motorized train rides for children, visits with Santa and a Christmas theatrical performance - all without putting a dent in mom and dad's wallet.
"It's a very popular evening because it's geared toward the family and it's economical," said Monica Coffin, manager of the Conyers Main Street Program, a sponsor of the event along with the Olde Town Business Council, the Rockdale County Historical Society and the city of Conyers.
"You can come to Olde Town and enjoy a carriage ride and train ride and a visit with Santa and not spend a dime if you don't want to, and that's something that's very rare these days," Coffin said.
The carriage and train rides make a loop through the core of Olde Town traveling on Commercial, Center and Railroad streets and run continuously throughout the evening.
The play, dubbed, "An Olde Town Conyers Christmas," begins at 7 p.m. and is performed by Conyers Kids at the Center Street Arts black box theater, 910 Center St. Because seating is limited, patrons are asked to arrive at least 15 minutes before the performance.
Santa will also be on hand for visits and photos. You can find him at the Depot in Olde Town Conyers where he will be sitting in his big Santa chair waiting for children to jump on his lap and reveal what they would like to see sitting under the tree on Christmas morning. Parents may take their own pictures of Santa with the kids or they can purchase a package taken by Danny Lee Photography.
Also in the Depot will be a Secret Santa Workshop where children can shop for the special people in their lives. Santa's elves will guide children around the workshop, which features gifts under $5 such as books, ornaments, picture frames, toys, soaps and notepads. Santa's elves will also wrap each gift and help children complete the gift recipient name tags.
"It's really fun," said Coffin. "It's just adorable. They think it's just the neatest thing that they are able to do that for their mommy or daddy."
After sipping some free hot apple cider and hot cocoa at the Depot, visitors can shop at the stores and eat at the restaurants in Olde Town, which will be open late that night. They can also take a few spins around the ice skating rink at the pavilion, which is open until 11 p.m.
In addition to existing retail stores in Olde Town such as Social Graces and Custom Embroidery, there are also two new shops opening their doors - Southern Komfort, which sells children's and women's clothing, and Dream Day Affairs, a bridal shop.
Coffin said that it's the ninth year for a holiday event in the business district of Olde Town Conyers. Through the years, it's grown from simply shops being open late to a host of activities for all ages.
"There's something for the kids and for the adults to make it fun and worth the trip to Olde Town," said Coffin.
Contact Karen J. Rohr at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SideBar: If You Go
What: Olde Town Conyers Christmas Party
When: 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7
Where: Olde Town Conyers business district
Cost: Most events are free with nominal costs for Secret Santa Workshop, photos with Santa and ice skating.