Carroll and Trimble counties celebrate the holiday season with annual lighting of decorations and other events throughout the weekend and next week.

The seasonal festivities kick off Friday in Carrollton with "Light Up Downtown" featuring music by the Carroll County elementary school chorus, as well as local singer Jeannie Rider. Events begin at 5 p.m. with music before the switch to the downtown holiday lights will be thrown around 6 p.m. by Carrollton Mayor Gene McMurry and Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold "Shorty" Tomlinson, Main Street Program Manager Sam Burgess said.

Other events continue Saturday with "A Christmas Carroll" featuring the parade and annual bake-off contest. Festivities begin at 11 a.m. with "A Christmas Carroll" parade that will bring Santa Claus to town for a visit. Other youth groups, churches, businesses and groups will be part of the parade as well.

Following the parade, Santa will be available until about 3:30 p.m. for photos and to meet and greet children at Santa's house on Main Street near the Courthouse. Photos cost $5 with the contribution going to the local "Shop with a Cop" program.

The seventh annual "Visions of Sugar Plums" Bake-Off contest will take place Saturday at McNeal's Trustworthy Hardware, 123 Fifth St., in Carrollton. Participants are encouraged to bring a holiday sweet treat and enter for a chance to win a new cooking stove before the holidays.

Four categories of cakes, pies, cookies and candy or miscellaneous will be judged with an overall grand prize winner, as well as first, second and third place winners. Winners will receive gift cards from members of the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce. All entries should be dropped off for judging by 10 a.m., Burgess said.

A cookie category for children age 12 and under will also be part of the cook-off. Each child is asked to bring a minimum of six cookies for judging.

Craft tents with handmade crafts and other homemade goodies will be part of the events on the Courthouse lawn from 10 a.m. to around 4 p.m. Other drawings for two bicycles and gift cards will be held at 3 p.m. People must be present near the craft tents to win.

The city of Bedford will usher in the holiday season with "Light Up Bedford," which will be held on Dec. 7. The event will begin at 5:45 p.m. at the Courthouse, Bedford's Deputy Clerk Rita Davis said.

Milton Elementary students will sing before the lighting of decorations at the Courthouse. The holiday lights are sponsored by Signature Health Care.

A parade with the Bedford Volunteer Fire Department will take Santa Claus from the Courthouse to the Morgan Community Center after the lighting. A chili dinner by the Bedford Rotary Club will be held at the center along with musical entertainment by Bedford Elementary School and the Trimble County Middle School band.

Santa will be available at the community center to meet and greet, as well as photo opportunities at a small fee.