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Community gathers for annual tree lighting
Event held at local outdoor mall
Tree lighting
Locals gather around the Christmas tree at The Collection at Forsyth to celebrate the holiday season. - photo by Kelly Whitmire

With a countdown from Santa and Mrs. Claus, Christmas came to a local shopping destination over the weekend.

On Sunday evening, The Collection at Forsyth hosted its annual Holiday Celebration and Twilight Tree Lighting, complete with games and activities for kids, local vendors and Christmas carols from singers in the area.

Tree carol
The choir at First Redeemer Church sings Christmas carols. - photo by Kelly Whitmire
“I think it’s really gone well, so far. We’ve had a good crowd,” said Elizabeth Shara, director of events and marketing with Core Property Capital, owner of The Collection. “I think when you combine face painting and crafts and Santa Claus and singing, you have a winning combination.”

At the event, kids and families could have their faces painted, get balloon animals, take part in complimentary carriage rides and many other fun activities. 

Jenifer Bodzioney, who was at the event with her mom, husband and children, said her kids particularly enjoyed the balloons and face painting.

“[We came for] the activities for the kids and to get into the spirit of Christmas,” she said, later adding. “Really, we want to see the lighting of the tree. I feel like that starts the season off.”

The event’s main stage featured performances from singers Cole Thannisch and Allie Odom, the choir from First Redeemer Church and 98-person flash mob from the group “Friends Who Pray.”

“We did something new, we started with a flash mob,” Shara said. “They called me and said, ‘would you be interested in something different’ and I just said ‘what I really want is a flash mob,’ and that’s what they wanted to do.”

Local non-profit and school organizations also had a presence at the event. 

Shara said creating an event for the community to get together was “critical,” and it has become an annual part of some families’ Christmas celebrations. 

Santa and Mrs. Claus lead a countdown to the lighting of the Christmas tree on Sunday at The Collection at Forsyth’s Holiday Celebration and Twilight Tree Lighting. - photo by Kelly Whitmire
“We’ve been coming here for a long time, as long as they’ve had it going,” said Melinda Wagoner, who was attending with her daughter, Lisa Hohenstein, and four grandchildren. “We don’t miss it. It’s a family tradition.”

Hohenstein said seeing Santa count down to the tree lighting was a sign Christmas was coming.

“We just watch him come and that kind of kicks off the Christmas season for us.” she said.

The Collection is at 410 Peachtree Pkwy., and the area around the Christmas tree will be host to several other holiday events in the coming weeks. For more information, visit