MOULTRIE, Ga. – Better early than never.

On Monday evening, Downtown Moultrie looks to light up the sky with all kinds of colors and fill the air with festive music.

Normally, this is all done on Thanksgiving night, but the circumstances of the year 2020 forced the city planners to make some adjustments. So instead of the annual event of lighting up the Christmas tree on Thursday, citizens can go any or all nights of their choosing this upcoming week not only for the sights, but to get in a little local shopping as well.

Each night will also feature a virtual countdown that was filmed for broadcast at 6 p.m. on social media.

Numerous businesses in downtown will remain open until 8 p.m. Those include 10 dining locations, jewelry stores, antique shops and boutiques.

When you make a purchase at these participating locations, you can also take part in Operation Ornament. According to Moultrie’s Marketing Specialist Caroline Barber, at no extra cost customers can receive a wooden ornament with their purchases. Barber said you can take these home for the youngsters in the family to decorate using whatever creative means are available, be it crayons, glitter, etc.

Take the ornaments back to any store downtown (not necessarily from where you got it) and it will be displayed through the holiday season. Barber said she will collect the ornaments after the holidays to be distributed to nursing homes and taken to the Welcome Center for the 2021 season. If children are decorating these, she encourages them to put a first name and age on the ornament to make it more special when somebody else sees it.

The ornaments come in 12 different shapes (reindeers, doves, sleighs, etc.) and Barber is handing out 2,999 (one broke in transit) to the merchants.

“The whole idea is to make (the season) more festive,” she said.

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