ATHENS, Ala.- Winter doesn't officially start for another month. But in a few days, downtown Athens will feel like Christmas.
For shop owners in town, now is prime time to be unpacking Christmas decorations.
A little bird told Teresa Brodie that it pays to be early to the party. So she's spending the week unpacking dozens of boxes. She ordered this year's holiday goods for Pimento's back in January. On Halloween, Brodie and her staff started decking the halls.
"Living in North Alabama, you go from 100 degrees to 30 degrees. There's no in between," Brodie said.
Hence why all around downtown Athens, you're seeing snowmen and Santas in the shop windows. It's preparation for the city's Christmas open house.
"You'll be able to get pictures with Santa," Athens Main Street executive director Tere Richardson said.
A few days in the 30s in Athens certainly helps put people in the Christmas spirit, but Richardson says it's also terrific conditions for making ice. She says later this week, workers will show up to start pouring ice for the skating rink for families to enjoy this weekend.
"Once it's set, they'll be able to keep it cold, but it won't be so cold when you're skating. How great is that?" Richardson said.
This weekend, city leaders are combining Athens's bicentennial with its Christmas open house, encouraging people to shop local and enjoy some outdoor activities downtown.
The open house is happening Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Ice Skating on the square is open Friday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m., Saturday from 11:00 to 8:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
There'll also be a Blizzard Bash on the square, carolers, and a Lions club Christmas train ride on Saturday.
Atendees can also take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Athens State on Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
A Christmas light show will happen at the courthouse on Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
Families are also invited to the scavenger hunt at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, a birthday bash at noon on the courthouse steps, a beard and hat contest at 1:30 p.m., a trade days photo recreation at 2:00 p.m. on Marion Street, a car raffle at 3:00 p.m. and a reception to follow from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. at High Cotton Arts.