NEWBERRY — The 10th annual Main Street Lights is just around the corner, this year’s event will be taking place on Nov. 17 from 5-8 p.m. This year’s event is bringing back many favorites, like the faux snow, and some new treats as well.
Mary Alex Kopp, Tourism & Events coordinator with the City of Newberry Parks, Recreation, and Tourism said that there are a few reasons that the event is the Friday before Thanksgiving.
“The number one reason, in my opinion, us being the county seat we want to be sure our Christmas tree lighting is not competing with other municipalities Christmas tree lightings,” she said. “The second reason, it really helps kick off the holiday retail season for our downtown businesses, having the Christmas tree lighting the week before Thanksgiving gives them an additional week of boosted sales.”
She said while visitors come downtown to take pictures in front of the trees, they may decide to have lunch, or do some shopping as well. Kopp also said that having everything decorated for Thanksgiving gives families something additional to do.
“Some families, Thanksgiving is the only time of year they come back to Newberry, we want to look our best and have everything decorated and ready for them,” she said.
Between 5-6 p.m. visitors will see the Southern Victorian Society in full period costume caroling at the tree. Local charitable organizations will be participating in the Charity Organization Craft Fair, where they will be giving away a variety of goods such as free homemade cookies, goodie bags, candy canes and more.
The organizations include; Aveleigh Presbyterian Church, Newberry ARP Church, Pomaria Community Food Bank, Newberry College Cheer and Karen O’Donald (who runs a local ministry). There is still time for other organizations to join, but they must do so by 5 p.m today. To sign up, call Kopp at 803-321-3881.
The Official Tree Lighting Ceremony will begin at 6:15 p.m., accompanied by the Prosperity-Rikard Elementary and Newberry Elementary School choirs singing “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” and “Jingle Bell Rocks” respectively. This year Mayor Foster Senn will light up the tree with a special guest from WIS news, Dominic Brown.
Some returning favorites to the celebration will include the fluttering faux snow at the snow machines in Memorial Park and the ornament sculpture in Astwood Park. Along with the returning decorations there will be a few new items.
“We are adding more lighted garland that everyone liked so much last year. It was just at the intersections, this year we are covering the remaining light poles between what we consider the top of Main Street, near the Young Life building, down to the intersection of Main and Caldwell,” Kopp said.
The Christmas trees located in Memorial Park will also have added touches. They will be topped with a bow that matches the style of the others bows installed downtown, and half of the trees will have a banner representing one of the sponsors that gave $1,000 or more to the Christmas tree fund. This will include Newberry County Government, City of Newberry Government, Sodexo, Stokes Trainor and Clinton Newberry Natural Gas Authority.
“Our Christmas Tree Fundraising volunteer was Anne Pinckney Smith, she challenged herself with raising $15,000 to cover all our cost. We got to that goal, so that will cover the cost of the tree, new lights, and any replacements we need to do. She came up with this idea to better promote our top dollar sponsors,” Kopp said.
Denise Bouknight, of By Design, is the decorator for the event, she came up with the banner for the side of the tree. Kopp said the banners have the historic feel, that complements Downtown Newberry.
Reach Andrew Wigger at 803-276-0625 ext. 1867 or on Twitter @ TheNBOnews.