Thanks to Old Man Winter waking up early and providing us with a blanket of snow here in Oneonta and the area at large, it's been a lot easier to get into the holiday spirit and coming this weekend to Oneonta, a host of free activities sure to guarantee you holiday cheer!

Destination Oneonta has put together a collection of fun, family friendly events for people of all ages to enjoy:

The Snowman Decorating Contest:  This a new event this year where certain businesses are competing to have the best decorated snowman.  You can vote for your favorite (Viewers Choice) from November 30 to December 14.  Winners will be announced on December 15.

2nd Annual Community Cookie Swap: Cookie and holiday treat lovers, this one is for you!  It's taking place at Foothills Performing Arts Center in the Production Room on November 30 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and then again on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  This is an opportunity to share your favorite holiday cookies, candy or special holiday treat with the community. To participate, bring at least 4 bags (with at least 6 cookies in each bag) to exchange. Please label the bags with name of cookie, ingredients (for allergy purposes) and include your name if you wish.

Oneonta Holiday Parade:  This fun annual parade travels down Oneonta's Main Street on December 1 at 11 a.m. and includes floats, dancers, community groups, fire and police vehicles, and of course Santa!

The 3rd Annual Gingerbread Jubilee:  This year's Gingerbread contest theme is "Holiday Fun" and those entering the contest should drop off their creations to the Foothills Atrium on Friday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.  On Saturday, those entries will be on display in the Atrium from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

2nd Annual Festival of the Trees:   A variety of decorated trees from local businesses and groups will be on display for viewing in the Foothills production room on Friday from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and then again on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.  You can purchase raffle tickets to win one of the trees while you're there.  The winners will be drawn on Saturday starting at 2:30 p.m.

Looking ahead, one of my favorite Oneonta holiday events is the Annual Tree Lighting in Downtown Oneonta, where Main Street is closed off for vendors, kids activities, visits with Santa in his cottage and more.  That will be on December 6 starting at 5 p.m.