Last updated: November 20. 2013 12:13AM - 863 Views
By - eparnell@civitasmedia.com



From left to right, Michelle Long, Nita Chandler, Jessica Ruiz, Sandra Durham and Joyce Vigus prepared 360 feet of garland to have ready for the columns of Community Hall this holiday season.
From left to right, Michelle Long, Nita Chandler, Jessica Ruiz, Sandra Durham and Joyce Vigus prepared 360 feet of garland to have ready for the columns of Community Hall this holiday season.
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NEWBERRY — The community Christmas tree lighting in downtown Newberry is almost here after months of planning beginning in March, according to Joyce Vigus, community Christmas tree volunteer organizer.


Vigus said 250 or more letters were sent out in March to churches, businesses, and clubs asking for donations to help prepare for this year’s tree lighting event downtown which will take place Nov. 22 at 6 p.m.


Several additions have been added to this year’s event to make it even better, according to Vigus and Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events coordinator for the City of Newberry.


New wreaths have been added to Community Hall for a special touch. Memorial Park has also been transformed into a “sparkling forest,” according to Vigus. Kopp said that this year, all of the downtown decorations have been moved into new locations.


“They’re each telling small stories in each location they go,” Kopp said.


Beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, Main Street will be closed off for the evening, according to Kopp.


Eight vendors will line Main Street with treats for sale at approximately 4:30 p.m. Among the vendors will be Half Full selling coffee, the Main Street Bakery with cookies and other treats, and First Baptist Church with popcorn. Shine and Lee’s Christmas Tree farm will also be on Main Street selling fresh wreaths, garland, and bows.


Other vendors include Newberry College’s cheer and dance teams and Sonic plus Hospice Care of South Carolina will be selling hot chocolate.


Vigus said the street vendors will give the community a great chance to visit downtown stores and even grab a meal before heading to the Christmas tree lighting.


At 6 p.m., Mayor Foster Senn will welcome the community to the tree lighting ceremony, followed by performances from the Newberry Elementary and Boundary Street Schools choirs, as well as the Newberry College Madrigals. The community Christmas tree this year came from a Christmas tree farm in Plum Tree, N.C., weighing 500 pounds, and is 20 foot tall.


Following the tree lighting, all choirs will sing “Come on Ring Those Bells.”


When the ceremony has come to an end, street performers will begin to serenade downtown in various locations. The Aveleigh hand-bell choir will be positioned in Memorial Park, while Dr. Corey Hunt will be on his guitar in front of Wells Fargo.


Jeremy Orpeza, Melissa Brewer, Marlowe Whitaker, and Justin Boazman will perform also downtown for the community. Positioned on upper Main Street, the Bucket Brigade will also be performing.


“We really tried to take last year’s ceremony and add to it,” Kopp said.


There will be 22 downtown vendors open until 8 p.m. including businesses, restaurants, and bars as part of the city’s new Third Thursdays program.


“We’re so pleased with how the downtown merchants have been with this event,” Kopp said.


At 8 p.m., the Newberry Community Players will host a free showing of the Polar Express at the Ritz Theater.


“This has been a real community effort,” Vigus said. “People have been really supportive.”


Elyssa Parnell can be reached at 803-276-0625, ext. 108 or at eparnell@civitasmedia.com.


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