In Hutchinson Square in Summerville, Christmas decorations are in place, and the tree has been lit. There's just one more tradition to top off the countdown to the big day: the annual Christmas parade on Sunday.
The parade will begin at 2 p.m. with a lineup of at least 100 entrants that will march through Summerville's historic downtown district. And organizers expect just as many parade watchers this year as last year's estimated 10,000 onlookers.
"We just hope not to have a repeat of last year where it rained and postponed the parade," Summerville DREAM Executive Director Susan Morris said.
This is the fourth year that the nonprofit Summerville Downtown Restoration, Enhancement and Management has organized the event along with the Summerville Fire Department. The annual event has been going on for years in the town, however.
Visitors can expect to see all three local high school bands, local dignitaries and celebrities, beauty queens, and many of the area businesses, churches, civic organizations and sports teams make an appearance in the parade. And, of course, Santa Claus and his elves will pay a visit to Flowertown to cap off the end of the march.
The theme for this year's parade is "A Patriotic Christmas," and marchers will salute our troops overseas, Morris said.
Some of the groups participating in the parade will include the Naval Sea Cadet Corps from the Yorktown Division, veterans with a reproduction of the submarine Thresher and a color guard from the American Legion.
Morris said organizers even plan to send a recording of the parade for soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan to watch.
The festivities in Summerville don't end with the parade. Children also can get some one-on-one time with Kris Kringle on Dec. 11 and 18.
"Saturdays With Santa" will run noon-4 p.m., and children will have the opportunity to have their photos taken with the Jolly Old Elf. Parents can photograph the memory themselves with their own cameras or let one of the Christmas elves capture the moment.
The event is free, and families can meet Santa at the Century 21 Real Estate Office, 118 W. Richardson Ave. at Short Central.
Summerville DREAM also will host its monthly Third Thursday event Dec. 16 with a holiday twist. From 5 to 8 p.m., visitors can visit downtown Summerville, where there will be hot cocoa, cookies and live carolers. Also, a variety of downtown shops and restaurants will be open late with special discounts and offers.
But there are more holiday happenings going on in the area. Here are some of the events:
--Summerville Baptist Church, 417 Central Ave., will host a celebration of the birth of Christ in its annual Singing Christmas Tree, which features a live orchestra, light show and large choir. The cost is $7, and it starts at 7:30 p.m. Call 873-2440 or visit www.summervillebaptist.org/lcsct. Also varying times Dec. 11-13.
--The Charleston Southern University Horton School of Music will present an acoustic concert performed by the CSU Concert Singers at 7:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Summerville Church, 316 W. Carolina Ave. The cost is $5. Call 863-7966.
--Middleton Place, 4300 Ashley River Road, will host Family Yuletide 5:30-8 p.m. Families can enjoy storytelling around a fire, caroling and making ornaments and wreaths in the stableyards. The cost is adults $10, children (7-15) $5, and 6 and under are free. Purchase tickets online at www.middletonplace.org or call 556-6020.
--The Taylor Music Group will present a Celtic Christmas concert at 6 p.m. at the Woodlands Inn, 125 Parsons Road, Summerville. A four-course gourmet meal also will be served. The cost is $125. Call 819-6961.
--A Deuce Theatre original production will expose the seven deadly sins of the holidays in "The Humbug Holiday Hour" at 8 p.m. at the South of Broadway Theatre, 1080 E. Montague Ave., North Charleston. Prices are $10-$15. Call 580-2223 or visit www.deucetheatre.com.
--Middleton Place's Grand Illumination starts at 7 p.m. Stroll through illuminated gardens and hear costumed interpreters tell stories inspired by Christmas 1782. Tickets are $45 for adults and $20 for children. Call 556-6020.
--Tim Lowry presents "A Christmas Carol" at 6 p.m. at Cokesbury United Methodist Church, 4990 Dorchester Road, North Charleston. Modeled after Charles Dickens' public "readings," the show is free. Call 552-4061.
--Santa Afternoon Tea at Woodlands Inn, Summerville. From 3-5 p.m., families can enjoy pastries and refreshments in the Winter Garden while children have photographs taken with Santa. Price is $12-$25. Call 875-2600.
Reach Almar Flotildes at 937-5719.