Savannah is beautiful anytime of the year, but the Hostess City really shines during the holiday season. The historic district glitters with festive lights and businesses set up their holiday displays, making the Christmas spirit palpable. And on Saturday, Dec. 17, one of the most highly-anticipated holiday events is returning for its third year.
The Christmas Festival at Trustees’ Garden will welcome the community to experience a winter wonderland complete with snow, Santa and more. The grounds of Kehoe Iron Works at Trustees’ Garden will be transformed, with fun activities for the whole family. There will be train rides, bounce houses and rock climbing, as well as live performances and a merry marketplace with local vendors.
The idea for the Christmas Festival initially arose from a desire that Charles Hill Morris, Sr. (Morris Multimedia CEO and festival presenter) envisioned as a special event for the people of the Savannah area.
“Ever since Charles Morris purchased the Trustees’ Garden, he wanted to have something for the community. He really loves Savannah, and he really wanted to give back to the community. So the idea of some kind of family-friendly event came up, and we decided it would be a Christmas Festival,” said Kathy Kurazawa, one of the event organizers.
In its first year, the festival attracted more than 1700 attendees. There was a Covid hiatus the following year, with the festival returning for its second iteration in 2021. More than 1500 festival goers attended last year, and a sizable crowd is expected again this year. The event organizers see the Christmas Festival as a special opportunity to unite the community, spread good cheer, and celebrate the holiday season. They hope to continue the tradition and host more opportunities to bring people together in the future.
“We’re going to be doing more of these kinds of things,” said Morris. “We want to help get people together. I think it’s so important to know your neighbors and your friends. So often, we get busy with our careers, life and families that we don’t really have a chance to visit with each other enough. We hope this event helps change that.”
The Christmas Festival is all about bringing people together in a fun, family-friendly and festive environment, and organizers hope it’s the perfect way to kick off the winter break for school-aged children and their families.
“The kids will be getting out of school the day before, so this is something to do while they’re out of school for the break to have some fun and enjoy. We’re going to have lots of activities and it’s going to be fun for the whole family– a Christmas atmosphere and lots of fun,” said Kurazawa.
“We’re going to have gymnastics by the YMCA. . . and Savannah’s new hockey team, the Ghost Pirates are going to come. They’ll have a little area where the kids can learn how to hit the pucks into the net. And the Savannah Sharks cheerleading squad is going to be there and help kids with tumbling,” she added.
The Christmas atmosphere Kurazawa alluded to is made more convincing by the fact that the event advertises a “100% chance of snow” at the festival, which is a major draw for snow-starved Savannahians. To be specific, there will be about 60 tons of it brought in and frozen onsite, so attendees have a rare opportunity to enjoy sledding and snow tubing.
“At Trustees’ Garden, [there’s] a big natural hill that goes down. That’s where the snow sledding is going to be and everybody just has a blast on that . . . adults included,” said Kurazawa.
The holiday scene is enhanced by a 23-foot Christmas tree, and Santa Claus will be present from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for pictures. Several food trucks will be on the premises and hot cocoa will be available as well.
Admission is $20 per person when purchased online, and children 5 and under are free. Tickets will be sold at the door for $25.
For tickets and more information, visit trustees-garden-christmas.eventbrite.com.