The magic of the holidays will be in full swing with Christmas lights and comfort food and at Chick-fil-A’s Lights of Athens Countdown on Monday, Nov. 4 from 5-7 p.m.
At 6 p.m., there will be a countdown followed by the lighting of around 300,000 Christmas lights. There will also be a surprise unveiled after the lights are turned on, according to the staff.
The Atlanta Highway location has been hosting Lights of Athens since 2015. Alex Clark, the restaurant operator of the Atlanta Highway Chick-fil-A, said he started this event to give families in the community the opportunity to form traditions.
“I grew up in Athens and as a kid, my family would take me to see Christmas lights,” Clark said. “I became the owner here in 2014 and I thought it would be kind of neat to start the same traditions at my restaurant for the community.”
It has since become an event for not just the community, but the Chick-fil-A staff as well. Executive assistant, Kelsy Dawsey, explains how her job centers on developing a well-equipped staff. During Lights of Athens, it is especially important to have a team ready to serve the community to the best of their ability, Dawsey said.
Lights of Athens will also mark the kickoff for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry provides gifts to under privileged children during the holidays. This is made possible by people donating shoe boxes filled with items such as toys and school supplies. Chick-fil-A has been working with the ministry for the past several years, and it serves as a drop-off location for shoe boxes. Starting on Nov. 4, the restaurant will be giving away 200 boxes.
Robin McEntire, restaurant marketing director, said Chick-fil-A has a deal where customers will be given a free chicken sandwich if they bring a filled box with a paid shipping fee.
Java Joy will also be serving free coffee to guests during the event. This will be the third event the Chick-fil-A has done with the organization this year.
“We love working with them,” McEntire said. “They’re a great organization with great people.”
The best part of the event for Clark is hearing stories from the locals about how Lights of Athens impacted them.
“You never know what may be going on in a guest’s life,” Clark said. “They are just Christmas lights, there’s nothing new about them, but someone who maybe has lost hope during the holiday season can have it rekindled.”
Dawsey said when the lights are on it, the space becomes a magical and joyful environment for staff and customers.
“My favorite part is when the families pull up to the window and the lights shine off of their car windows to create this all encompassing light,” Dawsey said. “Everyone in the car is smiling and it’s so great to see the joy in the kids’ faces, you can’t help but be filled with joy yourself.”