It's the most wonderful time of year: toasting marshmallows, twinkly lights and leaving out cookies for Santa. There's also no shortage of festivals. Some are Christmas-themed like the Atlanta Christkindl Market, but not all.
Check out these nine can't miss festivals in and around Atlanta this December:
The City of Marietta's Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
4-8 p.m. Dec. 5, Glover Park at Historic Marietta Square, 50 N. Park Square NE, Marietta, www.mariettaga.gov.
Put on your warmest coat and grab a cup of hot cocoa as you make your way around Marietta Square for their annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The fun begins at 4 p.m. with performances by local school choruses singing all the holiday hits like "Carol of the Bells" and "The Little Drummer Boy." Then, tell the little ones to be on their best behavior because Santa makes his grand entrance at 5:20 p.m. followed by the lighting of the city's Christmas tree at 6 p.m. Additionally, children can meet Santa until 8 p.m. that evening.
Back to Nature Holiday Market
10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7, Chattahoochee Nature Center, 9135 Willeo Rd, Roswell, www.chattnaturecenter.org.
Saddle up and get to the Chattahoochee Nature Center for their one-day only holiday market. Explore local artisans' work for a one-of-a-kind gift for the holiday season. There will be art, jewelry, gifts for the kiddos, bath products, candles and so much more.
Wrecking Bar Strong Beer Festival
Noon, Dec. 7, Wrecking Bar Brewpub, 292 Moreland Ave. NE, Atlanta, www.freshtix.com.
The holidays are spectacular, but they sure can cause a lot of stress. If you need something to do this month that doesn't involve shopping, come out to Wrecking Bar's Strong Beer Festival. There will be more than 100 beers from 35 of your favorite Georgia breweries (plus a few surprises from out of state) and every beer will be at least 8% ABV.
Children's Christmas Parade
10:30 a.m. Dec. 7, Parade begins at Peachtree St. at 16th St, Atlanta, www.choa.org.
Watch midtown Atlanta transform into a winter wonderland with floats, giant balloons and the sounds of marching bands. The Children's Christmas Parade is the largest holiday parade in the Southeast. If you want to start the festivities early, two individual and unique breakfast events are offered prior to the parade's start: Breakfast with Santa and the Smiles of the Season Breakfast.
If you can't make it to Peachtree Street, put on WSB-TV Channel 2 to view the Children's Christmas Parade live.
The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run
Noon, Dec. 14, Pour Taproom, 661 Auburn Ave. NE, Suite 230, Atlanta, atlantasantaspeedorun.org.
You don't have to be a runner and you don't have to wear much to participate in this race. The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run is a 1-mile fun run benefiting Bert's Big Adventure. In addition to speedos and Santa hats, there will also be a DJ, a cash bar, a costume contest and activities for those 21 and up.
And heads up, this year's race has a new route — the run starts and ends at Pour Taproom on the Atlanta BeltLine.
Pub Crawl on the BeltLine: Winter Edition
Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 14, Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail, www.eventbrite.com.
Gather your dear ones and mingle to the vibes of Kris Kringle. Pub Crawl on the BeltLine: Winter Edition has got the coolest bars on the BeltLine included as stops. Tickets include up to five complimentary beverages along with awesome food and drink specials at each participating location. Locations include Hawkers, Park Tavern, Guac Y Margy's and more.
Emerald City Carnival at The Bakery
6 p.m. Dec. 20, The Bakery Atlanta, 825 Warner St, Atlanta, www.eventbrite.com.
For one special night, travel down the yellow brick road to Emerald City at The Bakery — Atlanta's coolest multi-faceted arts complex. The Carnival includes live music, local art vendors and more.
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl FanFest
Time will be announced on Dec. 8, Dec. 28, Georgia World Congress Center, Building C, Hall C1-C2, 285 Andrew Young International Blvd. NW, Atlanta, www.chick-fil-apeachbowl.com.
Come out and celebrate college football at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl FanFest, a festival created with fans in mind.
"Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl FanFest is the premier pregame destination for every fan," said Peach Bowl, Inc. CEO & President Gary Stokan. "It's a celebration of college football where fans of all teams can come together and enjoy the pageantry and traditions the sport has to offer."
In addition to food, interactive games, and giveaways, this year's FanFest event will feature a new Game Day Lounge area where fans of college football can eat, drink, sit back, relax and enjoy other games leading up to this year's College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl. Admission is $10 with a game ticket or $15 without, ticket booths open at 8 a.m. in the Building C-Level 1 lobby.
New Year's Eve at City Winery
9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Dec. 31, City Winery, 650 North Ave. NE, Atlanta, www.atlantawinefestivals.com.
Ring in the new year at City Winery, where they'll supply all the wine options, liquor drinks, beer, and great food. There will also be Atlanta band Coast Guard playing super fun tunes and a DJ on the main stage.
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