The warm weather made it a little harder to get into the spirit of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas,” but Elkin’s Light Up Night drew a large crowd downtown Friday.
Christmas music flowed up and down the street as the town turned out to celebrate the upcoming holiday. Christmas lights and decorations already were out as people began filing onto Main Street, but the main event didn’t kick off until 6 p.m.
Everyone gathered at the Liberty building parking area for Mayor Lestine Hutchens’ big moment.
With a three-two-one and some help from the audience, Hutchens lit up the large Christmas tree that stands between the staircases leading up to the building’s main floor.
“This is an exciting time of the year because it’s the time where lots of people and their kids gather together and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season,” Hutchens said.
The history of light up is more than just the history of a tree lighting though.
“In 1960, back in the olden days, that was the first night of all the stores being open downtown. From that night on all the stores were open till 9 o’clock [p.m.], till Christmas,” Hutchens said. “Streets lined with people and kids, and smells of popcorn and hot nuts and everything. So it’s a great, great memory.”
At the Reeves Theater Dave George of Dave’s Antiques was telling the Nativity story under the building’s awning. Dressed, as Santa, George passed out candy around town before sitting down in a chair to tell the story.
George has been Santa for several years and plans to keep telling people about the birth of Jesus for as long as possible.
“If we get a good turnout, I’ll continue to do it on my own, either here or in front of my shop,” he said.
Music was the heart of the celebration. Live bands played and performers danced and clogged to Christmas-themed music.
In the Liberty parking area, performers danced and clogged on a special stage laid out in the parking lot. Audiences were able to see what the local talent had to offer and hear their favorite songs brought to life with action.
In Fiddles Pub, the Almost Irish Band performed for diners. Down the street at Brushy Mountain Winery, the band Fiddle Dee Dee performed for winery patrons.
The Gray Birds performed for an audience at the Foothills Arts Council building above Main Street. A whole art village was set up on the grounds for listeners to browse through, complete with outdoor heaters and a small fire — just in case.
Hutchens said Elkin had prepared itself well for the most wonderful time of the year.
“The town looks beautiful. The stores and the shops look pretty. We’re all ready for Christmas.”
Reach Taylor Pardue at 835-1513 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.