Heralded as one of the best towns to visit during the holiday season in Western North Carolina, the Town of Forest City has been preparing for weeks and is ready for the influx of visitors as the 2017 Christmas season begins. For those of us fortunate enough to live in the county, the Annual Lighting Ceremony has become part of our own personal Thanksgiving traditions... eat a lot, and then take the family to see the lights in Forest City. With the streets closed off to automobiles, the town will be filled to the brim with young and old alike waiting, with high anticipation, for the switch to be lifted, illuminating the city with over one million lights. Young children, some experiencing the 'magic' for the first time can be seen with their eyes alight in amazement as the town transforms into a Christmas extravaganza.
The annual tree lighting ceremony is scheduled to take place on Thanksgiving Night, November 23rd, beginning at 6:00 pm. After a brief welcome from the Town Manager, the choir will sing a medley of familiar Christmas tunes. Partnering with the Town, Facebook's Forest City Data Center will award the Facebook Community Action Grants during the ceremony. Afterwards, the Mayor and his special guest will flip the switch to turn on the lights! Following the singing of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," you're invited to Santa's House to enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies!
The tradition of lights along Main Street started in the 1940's when the Howard Harrill Decorating Company, one of the premier holiday decoration producers in the United States, called Forest City home. Mr. Harrill wanted the Town to shine at Christmas. He would set up Christmas lights and displays to photograph for his catalog and the Town would use them throughout the holiday season. Today, over one million lights shine brightly from Thanksgiving night through mid-January. Each evening brings hundreds of cars streaming through a canopy of red, green, and clear lights. The live oaks that line Main Street are wrapped in tiny clear lights and in the landscaped median are colorful displays of reindeer, snowmen, and toy soldiers.
Some of the most revered traditions will continue in Forest City for the remainder of the season including the Annual Christmas Parade on Sunday, the 26th, starting at 3 pm. Hay wagon and carriage rides, live music, unique shops, fantastic restaurants, and an ice skating rink next door to Santa's House will keep Forest City hopping until the New Year. It's not Christmas until you've driven through Forest City!
For more detailed information about the schedule of events, including Santa Paws, please visit www.townofforestcity.com or search Forest City Events on facebook.
Article by Cathy Alexander. Photos and content provided by Town of Forest City