By Andrea Runnels

Though it seems like we just put down our forks after polishing off that last bit of Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, if you look around the city of Buford you can already spot the holiday lights shining brightly! If you try really hard, you can almost detect the whiff of pine and gingerbread mixed with the winter wind. But it doesn’t really feel like Christmas until you hear your favorite carols. Those classic songs that fill us with nostalgia and take us back to our childhood. The magic of Christmas comes from seeing it through the eyes of our children and passing on our beloved family and community traditions. Last Thursday, the City of Buford kicked off its holiday festivities by bringing back a cherished event through the help of a new venue. 

We might envision a Norman Rockwell type Christmas but then reality sets in, especially for parents! It can be a challenge to transport multiple kiddos to multiple places during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and no parent wants to have to pick and choose which events to attend. 

Ever since his arrival in Buford in 1992, Dr. Chris Fowler, the Fine Arts Coordinator for Buford City Schools has been working to foster a community environment while showcasing the arts. He says, “The Community Holiday Concert was a natural fit for our close-knit town, and the program was readily embraced.” It was a wonderful event until the growing pains kicked in. The fine arts program in the school system expanded so much that it couldn’t hold all of its participants in one place.

This is one of the reasons that Buford City Schools is so excited to now have access to the Buford Arena. Dr. Fowler says, “With the 2016 construction of our new Buford City Arena, we were thrilled to reintroduce the Community Holiday Concert featuring over 1,000 of the most talented students in Georgia — our own!” 

This collaborative event means that families come to one event for students from all of Buford City Schools. It was a wonderful combination of bands, dance classes, and choral performances. The relaxed atmosphere of the arena makes it conducive for families with young children as well. Event staff are friendly and organized and on standby for events with carts to transport people back and forth to and from parking lots. The cart drivers logged plenty of miles Thursday because this event brought a full house of attendees.

The show began with the Buford Academy Fifth Grade Band followed by performances from the Buford Academy Chorus, Buford High School Advanced Dance Class, Buford Middle School bands, Buford High School Band Ensemble groups, and lastly multiple bands and choruses combining for a treasured sing-along. Some of the numbers even included guest soloists and handbell players. Families were ecstatic to be able to enjoy multiple talented performances from a variety of groups in the state of the art facility. It was the perfect holiday season kick-off!

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