Santa came. And the Grinch came too. And so did a whole bunch of folks from throughout the area to welcome the Jolly Old Elf and watch as the lights come on in Metter.

“It was a great turnout!” reported Jaime Riggs of Metter-Candler Chamber of Commerce. “And the weather was perfect!”

The downtown area was filled with residents and visitors gathering Thursday for the 5 p.m. Christmas parade and the Lighting of Metter celebration that followed.

The parade’s floats captured the excitement of the audience and the top three were named by judges Gay Beville and Ava Hendrix: Candler County Hospital, 1st place; Restoration Worship Center, 2nd place; and Beaver Run RV Park, 3rd place.

After the parade, the audience headed to the downtown park where they visited with Santa and took part in a chili cook-off. 

Over 200 votes were cast by attendees as H & H Timber, LLC, won People’s Choice and was also judged Best Overall by the panel of judges for their venison chunky chili. Sea Island Bank’s white chicken chili, prepared by Dustin and Amanda Vernon, won Most Unique, while Metter Fire Department had the Hottest Chili and the Best Decorated Booth.

Others taking part in the chili cook-off were Metter Police Department; Jason & Jenny Grimes; El Mariachi; Papa Buck’s and Chef Kathy Lanigan.

Attendees were also invited to share in treats provided by Big Boy Cookies and McKenzie Newkirk of Metter Meats.

The festivities were coordinated by the Lighting of Metter committee, which included Rhonda Hendrix, Kathy Dixon, Missy Edenfield, the City of Metter Public Works Department, Gay Beville, Brenna McDaniel, Tina Aldrich, Victoria Gaitten, Terry Bland and the Metter Elementary School Choir, Pineland Telephone, Marcus McCray, Jodie Kemp, Alaina Waters and Krissy Edenfield. 

Randy’s Wrecker & Service Center provided assistance in setting up for the event. Charlie Wolf provided the sound system and Trent Franklin/Ace Hardware and Metter Fire Department assisted with decorating the tree. TJ and Kathy Dixon decorated the Depot, the Welcome Center and more.

“We want to give a special thank you to our committee and to Kelly Brockway for her Who-ville work. She donated her time and talent for the new decorations in the park,” Riggs said, “and she was the artist who brought our Grinch to life.”

Additionally, Riggs said, “We give a special thanks to the guys in the big red and furry green suits - Gordon Lowe and Kyle Tucker.”

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