Every year, the Graham Christmas Stroll and Lighted Parade events are a spectacle to behold, and this year seeks to outdo them all.

Whether you are interested in watching or participating in a three-and-a-half minute, lightning fast cookie eating contest, you want to taste some of the best wassail this side of the Pecos, or you just want to see a world class parade, look no further that the Graham Square this coming Thursday, Dec. 5.

The featured event of the evening will of course be the parade. Last year, there were over 70 entrants and over 800 people participating in the parade. This year, the theme of the parade is “Christmas in the Country,” and there will be three categories of awards given to entrants: one for the best entrant to interpret the theme, one for best lights, and one for best entrant overall.

But before all of that, a daunting list of mini-events and activities fill the evening’s docket. Starting at 4 p.m. and lasting until 7 p.m., the festivities will kick off with pictures with Santa at two locations; one location inside the old Mail Post Building by Joy’s Downtown Flowers on the north side of the Square with pictures taken by Photos by Jennifer, and the second location’s Santa photos will be done this year by Mirus Studios at Young County Home and Health.

After that will be carriage rides for $10 provided by the Little Cowboy Carriage Service from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. (there will also be free carriage rides around the Square during that time period provided by Open Door Christian School), immediately followed at 4:45 p.m. by movies at the National Theatre, where all seats will be only $5. Featured films this year include Frozen and Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

At 5 p.m., the Christmas Stroll begins, and Graham Chamber President Jennifer Conway is excited about this year’s Stroll, as not only will it be an opportunity for Grahamites to enjoy The Square, but will also highlight many of its local businesses.

Read the entire story in this weekend's Graham Leader.