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- Winter means Christmas in Helen!
- Christmas in Helen
- A traditional German Christmas
- Annual Lighting of the Village
- Appalachian Christmas Celebration & Pancake Breakfast with Santa
- Meet Santa at North Georgia Zoo
- Mistletoe Market
- Holiday Celebration & Live Nativity at the North Georgia Zoo, Cleveland
- Meet Santa Claus in Helen
- A Victorian Christmas in Nacoochee
- Festival of Trees
- Christmas Parades
- Winter Break Fun and Christmas Tree Toss at the North Georgia Zoo
- Dropping of the Edelweiss
- Other seasonal Events
- Christmas in Helen
- Christmas, Oktoberfest and other Festive Events in Helen
Winter means Christmas in Helen!
We love celebrating Christmas in unique, small towns. These places have their own charming traditions. Helen celebrates a Bavarian Christmas every year. The small touristy town in Northern Georgia mountains is full of Christmas events. This guide especially lists all holiday activities in Helen. If you are looking for year-round things to do in Helen, you can read our massive Helen destination guide here.
Photo Credit – Helen,Georgia/Facebook
Christmas in Helen
Helen celebrates Christmas on a grand scale, just as you would expect from any Bavarian Town. The town is full of tourists in the Holiday season and advance hotel reservations are strongly recommended. The many holiday events and activities begin early in November after Oktoberfest is over and continue into the New Year. Some of the events are located in nearby areas of Cleveland and Nacoochee.
A traditional German Christmas
Christmas in Helen has a distinct German influence and is a wonderful holiday experience. The German Christmas Season follows the Advent Calendar and the festivities start after the first Sunday of Advent. So don’t be surprised if some of the many Christmas events in Helen kick off before Thanksgiving!
Annual Lighting of the Village
Christmas & Holiday season in the Ginger-bread style town is ushered in with the Annual Lighting of the Village ceremony. This event takes place the Friday after Thanksgiving and includes appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Appalachian Christmas Celebration & Pancake Breakfast with Santa
This event is held in Cleveland at the BabyLand General Hospital. BabyLand is a Southern Style Home filled with Cabbage Patch Kids and has been voted among Top Ten Toylands. The event includes Christmas Holiday decorations, Christmas carols and milk and cookies with Santa and Mrs. Claus. The event also includes lighting of BabyLand. Read more here.
Meet Santa at North Georgia Zoo
This Christmas event occurs the weekend before Thanksgiving and is a family event featuring photos with Santa Claus. Children will also get to see a miniature deer and other exotic animals.
Mistletoe Market is an indoor festive Christmas holiday market organized by the Helen Arts & Heritage Center. The market is held the Thanksgiving Weekend and sells handcrafted arts and fine crafts and also includes family fun events like face-painting, Bavarian Music, baked goods and more. Artists from all over Northeast Georgia demonstrate their arts and crafts during the event. For timings and more information, see Mistletoe Market.
Holiday Celebration & Live Nativity at the North Georgia Zoo, Cleveland
Holiday Celebration & Live Nativity Christmas event is held at the North Georgia Zoo in Cleveland, Georgia. Held the week of Thanksgiving the celebration includes live nativity, hayrides, hot cocoa and marshmallows, donkey rides and more. Visitors can also see animals under the stars after regular Zoo hours. This event is free for all visitors. For more information visit here.
Meet Santa Claus in Helen
A weekend event that starts around Thanksgiving and continues till the week before Christmas. Children get to meet Santa and give him their list of presents. This is the perfect opportunity to capture Holiday photos. For timings, see Visit Santa in Helen.
A Victorian Christmas in Nacoochee
Hardman Farm State Historic Site located in Sautee Nacoochee, Georgia has two main features – the burial site of The Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound and the Victorian Mansion built in 1870 by Captain James Nichols. During Christmas, visitors can experience a Victorian Christmas at the house. The house is decorated with period Christmas decor and costumed docents inform visitors about popular Victorian Christmas traditions. Find more information on the Farm website.
Festival of Trees
Unicoi State Park celebrates Christmas with the Festival of Trees Charity event from the weekend before Thanksgiving in November to second week in December. The event is held on the 2nd Floor of the Unicoi Lodge and includes 21 themed, decorated trees and wreaths are available for bidding. The entire proceeds go to United Way of White County. Unico Restaurants also hosts traditional Thanksgiving Meal and Breakfast with Santa including pancakes, crafts and games for kids.
Helen hosts a big Christkindlmarkt, a traditional German Christmas market, with booths selling specialty Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations, holiday candies, traditional foods, and drinks. Helen’s Christmas Market is usually held the first two weekends in December.
Helen has two Christmas Parades – the Annual Christmas in the Mountains Festival & Lighted Parade in nearby Downtown Cleveland – an old-fashioned event with Christmas carols, hot cocoa and cookies, food booths, and more and the Christmas Parade in Helen with Santa Claus, costumed characters and lit-up floats, paper lanterns, bonfires and s’mores.
Winter Break Fun and Christmas Tree Toss at the North Georgia Zoo
In this one of a kind event held at the North Georgia Zoo in Cleveland, families are invited to recycle their Christmas Trees by tossing them to the zoo animals. Children can see animals drag, eat or tear the trees and play with them.
Dropping of the Edelweiss
After Christmas festivities, it’s time to ring in the New Year. Dropping of the Edelweiss, held on New Year’s Eve in Downtown Helen includes music, dancing, party hats, party favors, food and Midnight Champagne Toast. This tickets only event is held at Festhalle and is family-friendly.
Other seasonal Events
Christmas, Oktoberfest and other Festive Events in Helen
Helen Arts and Crafts Festival
Helen has an annual Arts and Crafts Festival every Fall.
Oktoberfest is Helen’s most widely celebrated event. Visitors come to the area to drink German beer in enormous mugs and glasses, eat German cuisine including bratwursts and kraut and listen to German music bands. Many beer gardens throughout the town attract tourists while the main Festhalle is the center of activity. Police in Helen GA are strict during Oktoberfest so walk to your hotel or assign a designated driver. Also, beers on the sidewalk can earn a citation from what I hear.
WinterFest: Arts & Trolley Tour
WinterFest: Arts & Trolley Tour is an area-wide cultural event held by the Unicoi State Park and Lodge, Helen Arts & Heritage Center and Sautee Nacoochee Cultural Center. The event takes place around President’s Day. Helen Winter Art Festival by the Helen Arts & Heritage Center, Fireside Arts & Crafts Show by Unicoi State Park and Sautee Nacoochee Art Festival are part of the event. All events are an indoor arts and crafts marketplace and showcase the talents of artists across Northeast Georgia. The events also include live demonstrations.
Helen’s Hot Air Balloon Festival
Helen has South’s oldest Hot Air Balloon Festival and long-distance balloon race; visitors can float over the Blue Ridge Mountains in tethered balloons. The annual event is held in June. Helen also has many other festivals including the Bavarian festival, Trout Tournament, Fasching (German Mardi Gras festival) beer tasting events and more. Get more information at Convention and Visitors Bureau.
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