With store windows decked out with holiday decorations, a friendly elf and even festive eggnog, despite spring-time weather, this year's Winter Wonderland filled downtown Franklin Friday night for shopping, holiday treats, and of course, Christmas music.
Luminaires lit the sidewalks and Christmas lights provided a festive glow for carolers, who entertained guests as they moved from store to store shopping. Yuletide carols were performed throughout the night by the South Macon Elementary Chorus, the Arts Council, Franklin High School's B-Naturals, The Carolines, Nikwasi Dulcimer Players and the headlining act, The Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet.
Early Friday evening, guests were able to enjoy free wagon rides around town, and in the Town Hall parking lot, children were able to take a ride on Roxy, a miniature pony. “It was unfortunate that one of the mules got sick and we missed out on a wagon ride,” said Mary Sanders, who attended the festival with her husband, J.P., and daughter Cordelia. “But Cordelia really loved riding Roxy, she is one of the main reasons we came.”
Children lined up down the street for a chance to ride on the ice slide, brought again this year by Asheville-based ice sculptor Ryan McCurdy. Despite warm weather, the ice slide, adorned with snow, brought sledding to Main Street. “The best part is at the bottom of the slide when you get to touch the snow,” said seven-year-old Byron. “It feels just like sledding down a hill.”
The downtown merchants really brought the holiday season to life with festive contributions ranging from face painting at Rosebud Cottage, to family board games at Macon Furniture Mart to eggnog at Collectiques. Life's Bounty has special holiday snacks for festival goers and Silver Threads and Golden Needles entertained guests with special music.
Another highlight of this year's Winter Wonderland was the history of the winter season, from the Scottish Tartan Museum to the Victorian dressed festival guests that roamed the sidewalk.
The new addition of the group Read2Me this year added an early Christmas present for children as they were on hand giving out free books.
All in all, the annual event was deemed a success and was enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.