VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - It's the first weekend of December and folks all across South Georgia are getting into the holiday spirit.
The streets in downtown Valdosta were full of kids and families waiting to see this Christmas tree light up Friday.
Folks decorated and wrote cards that will be sent to troops over seas.
There was also a choir singing.
It was a very festive event, all to kick off the holiday season in downtown Valdosta.
After Friday's tree lighting, the parade will be Saturday, followed by the 12 days of Christmas events.
"It's a great time for community members to get together and just enjoy the season," said Sementha Mathews, Valdosta Public Information.
And light bulb by light bulb, every snowflake is checked for the annual Christmas tree lighting.
"It's just a great time to bring people together and just a real festive time in the air," said Mathews.
The man behind the lights? Groundskeeper Gary Turner.
And he's no rookie. Turner has been putting Valdosta in the holiday spirit for 12 years now.
"Just changing bulbs in my snowflakes. Getting ready to put them in the flower beds," said Turner.
It's a job many people may not even know exists.
But one Turner holds near and dear to his heart.
And the best part?
"Just seeing all the smiles on everybody's faces when they come look at it," said Turner.
It takes about 2 weeks to get all the lights and ornaments in place.
But all the hard work is to accomplish one goal..
Making sure downtown Valdosta is ready for the holiday season.
Make sure you make your way to downtown to check out those lights Turner and his crew have worked so hard on.