It is the most wonderful time of the year for the Town of Thunderbolt! Kicking off Christmas on the Bluff on Saturday, December 3, Mayor Dana Williams and his merry council welcomed locals to what they hope will become an annual Christmas classic!
Rolling in with my newest Savannah Arts Academy photographer Logan Riviera, I see master of ceremonies Marianne Ganem Poppell and her team, Dru Usry and Danom Dunagan literally hanging a snow machine on a tree. Making it snow in South Georgia is going to be a miracle!
Across from her is a Christmas wonderland complete with live evergreen trees, dozens of poinsettias and a red throne for the jolly old man himself. Of course this elaborate backdrop is the creation of master photographer Gray Armstrong.
Looking even better than the last time I saw him, Gray is directing family photos at warp speed and has made this into a full time fashion spread complete with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. From what I hear, the fabulous ladies at The Dive whispered in Santa’s ear and convinced him to stop his sleigh at Gray’s photo dreamland.
Setting up at The Dive’s gourmet hot cocoa station is my Crill family! Amped to tell me of their December 16, “O Night Divine,” a veterans black tie Christmas event at Christ Church Anglican on Bull St., Kristy and Susannah tell me they hope to have 100% participation from the Tiny Home residents and many other veterans.
“There will be millionaires sitting with homeless veterans while dining in candlelight for a night of worship and celebration,” shares The Dive founder. Other plans include feeding 350 police officers on December 20 at the Civic Center where Kristy has been asked to pray over her food and their officers.
As always, Courtney Ganem of Ganem Realty is on hand to volunteer and corral the dozens of kids running between the Glitterboxx Studios face painting booth and the cookie decorating station. God bless you Courtney for handling these amped-up kids after their sugar rush!
As Old Town Trolley gives tours while collecting toys for their “Stuff a Trolley” campaign, Magnolia’s Cigars peeps are puffing away on some sweet smelling cigars, and the magnificent Teresa Harris from Clearwave assures me she will call me next week.
So sad that I don’t have time to get “fairy hair” from Southern Henna, I do make it over to The Mary’s Makings tent and stock up on chocolate-dipped oreos and pecan bars. At the table next to Mary I see Zelonia Williams, the hardest working event designer in Savannah, setting up her table of custom patches.
Did I see Zelonia walking the runway at her Seven Deadly Sins fashion show last night? “Yes! Future Minds collaborated with Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity to help raise funds for high school students in the community. I’m proud to say we had 35 models showcasing fashion from Illusion of Beauty, The Black Rose, Lovestones, Patches and Rebelle London at Savannah Station,” shares “Z”.
At the booth beside Zelonia is Thunderbolt Community Improvement Association’s Meredith Allen and Stella Lavin. While they tell me about the association’s goal of engaging the community by acts of kindness like school supply drives and care packages for nursing homes, I swear I hear the Georgia Bulldogs football game! Sure enough there is a real tailgate party with a large-screen tv perched up on the back of Rob Poppell’s truck!
Across the lawn, I see some massive live wreaths being sold by sisters Anna Marie Thomas and Joan Mathews for the Thunderbolt History Museum, then hit warp speed to snap pics of Gypsy Hustle owner Pamela Grainger and her fifteen year old daughter Grace. Stunned to realize I haven’t seen Kenny G’s daughter since she was a baby, I take a seat to talk with this future fashion designer
“My mom is more Palm Beach vintage, while I’m more into a comfy style. I love drawing, music from The Cure and The Smiths and have a more casual style,” shares the Savannah Arts Academy freshman. Loving her dark hair, vintage glasses and her quote of “my mom is my favorite woman ever”, I can’t wait to follow her style evolution.
It’s parade time! Marching toward me is the American Legion Post 184’s Color Guard, some eclectic vintage cars, the Town of Thunderbolt Fire Department, a super smiley Bob Milie and my winner for best Christmas costume, Jill Jauch!
Once the Mayor finishes the parade, I ask Dana why this event was so important to him. He responds with, “Just like our May Blessing of the Fleet, we want to bring people together, get people out of their house and meet their neighbors and have less Facebook and more face time. I want to bring the Mayberry of the past and make it our future,” shares first term Mayor Dana Williams. After their second big family friendly event of the year, I have to say the Town of Thunderbolt is on their way!