Nov. 20—Hundreds of residents and visitors celebrated the start of the holiday season during the annual Light Up Lenoir in downtown.
The event started with Mayor Joseph Gibbons leading the effort to flip on the switch that turned on lights on the city's Christmas tree.
Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand, posing with young and old alike in Santa's sleigh positioned across the street from the Christmas tree. Local school choruses sang Christmas favorites and there were free cookies for children.
Newly elected Lenoir City Council member Kimmie Rogers enjoyed listening to the Valmead Elementary School children's chorus despite being unable to sing along due to a case of laryngitis.
"I heard many good things at the event. It was so well attended and the children were so excited," Rogers said.
The Gamewell Middle School chorus delighted the crowd gathered at town square with Christmas songs and they were followed by third through fifth graders from the Valmead Elementary School with more sounds of the holidays.
Lenoir resident Tina Townsend and her neighbor Sharon Townsend said Light Up Lenoir is a yearly treat for them.
"We come each year and enjoy it very much. My favorite this year is Santa's sleigh," Townsend said.
Gibbons said the event is a highlight for families each year.
"It was a great time and kids and families enjoyed themselves," Gibbons said. "It's always fun doing this kind of thing and we've had many good comments telling us they appreciate what we've done."
Gibbons estimated that several hundred people were at Light Up Lenoir.
"It's a great way to kick-off the holiday season," Gibbons said.
Events celebrating the holiday season will continue in downtown, following the Thursday Light Up Lenoir.
The Christmas light show will continue in downtown Lenoir each night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. through New Year's Day.
Visits with Santa are planned in downtown Lenoir on Dec. 1 from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Dec. 13 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Dec. 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Drive-Thru Turkey Tuesday is Tuesday, Nov. 21, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. Volunteers will hand out free turkeys to local families in need while supplies last.
The city of Lenoir Starry Night Christmas Parade will be Friday, Dec. 1, in downtown Lenoir.
Reservations for downtown carriage rides is open. The carriage rides will be from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 11-13, Dec. 18-20. Ticket sales for the rides can be purchased at Lenoir City Hall. To reserve a ride, go to www.eventeny.com/events/downtowncarriagerides-7463.