COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — Ho, ho, hos and happy holidays are almost in Uptown. After Thanksgiving, Uptown Columbus will welcome the holiday season with their 13th annual tree lighting ceremony and holiday parade on Friday, Dec. 1 at 6:30 p.m.

The parade is free and open to community members of all ages to attend, although Uptown Columbus’ Event and Content Coordinator Hannah Patchin suspects it will be a standing room only event.

“It started off as a small event and then it’s just grown every year,” said Patchin.

This year, eventgoers can look forward to what Patchin called a “small parade” featuring local businesses and community members. It will go down Broadway and end at the city Christmas tree, which will be lit by Columbus Mayor Skip Henderson and, of course, Santa Claus at 7 p.m. “on the dot.”

The festivities will continue with caroling by the Muscogee County School District Choir, the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus and more from other local schools. Patchin explained local elementary- to high schoolers will performing holiday numbers throughout the afternoon and evening.

“We encourage everyone to come with friends and family,” Patchin said, adding children will also be able to take pictures with Santa at the event.

There will be no cost to take pictures with Santa and parents are welcome to use their own devices to get the shot or find their pictures on the Uptown Columbus Facebook page following the event.

Another perk of the event is that Country’s Barbecue will also be in attendance, giving out free cups of hot cocoa to guests and their families in an effort to kick off some holiday cheer.

On the day of the event, the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Broadway will be closed for the parade and will reopen at 9 p.m., following festivities.

“It’s just a fun, family-friendly event just to get in the holiday spirit,” Patchin said. She hopes as many locals as possible will come out this year to enjoy the fun and keep the event growing.