November 10, 2022

 

With the arrival of downtown’s community Christmas tree, the holiday season is almost underway! The 20-foot Fraser Fir tree arrives downtown on Tuesday, November 15. Main Street Lights, the community Christmas tree lighting will take place on Friday, November 18.

Driving a total of six hours, Austin Willingham of Willingham and Son’s in Newberry picks up the tree from Avery Farms in North Carolina and delivers it back downtown for all to see.

Fraser Fir trees are not farmed any farther South due to the climate, which is why the city purchases the tree each year from Avery Farms.

Bridget Carey, tourism and events manager for the City of Newberry said the city was grateful each year for their partnership with Willingham’s and their willingness to deliver the tree to downtown Newberry.

Parts of Main Street will be closed next Friday evening for Main Street Lights to include College to Nance Streets, Caldwell from Friend to Harrington Streets, Boyce from College to Nance Streets, and McKibben from Main to Harrington Streets.

Street closures will take place at approximately 3 p.m. and the event is scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and lasts until approximately 8 p.m.

This year’s event contains several new surprise additions, Carey said, and she asks visitors to be on the lookout!

This year’s event will feature food trucks in the downtown area with a variety of foods for the community to enjoy.

A full list of donors will once again be listed on the gift tags of the large present boxes in front of the tree at Community Hall.

The snow machines will be back in Memorial Park this year, Carey said and will run for the first time Friday night following the tree lighting.

The Victorian Society will be downtown singing Christmas carols again this year in full Victorian replica dress. The group is made up of volunteers and organized by Rose Marie Favors.

The official ceremony begins around 6 p.m. featuring choirs from Newberry Academy and Whitmire Community School. The choirs will be positioned on the balcony of Community Hall, Carey said.

Following the songs, the official countdown to the tree lighting will take place, followed by the singing of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

By 6:30 p.m., all of the lights should be on downtown and Carey invites visitors to walk around and check everything out. Lights will be on display in Astwood Park and at 7:30 p.m., The Ritz Theater will be open for a free showing of The Polar Express. The Newberry Arts Center will also be open during the tree lighting for arts and crafts inside the building.

What’s special, Carey said, is the great community effort that it takes to host the lights. Annually, local businesses and families champion Newberry’s holiday décor through donations collected. Carey extended a special thank you to co-chairs James and Christina Henricks for their assistance in fundraising efforts this season.

More Christmas Cheer

In addition to the tree lighting next week, the Newberry Downtown Development Association hosts an inaugural Cookie Walk, featuring a dozen cookies courtesy of downtown merchants. On Saturday, November 19 from 3-9 p.m. sip wine, get into the holiday spirit and enjoy a walking tour of the downtown district with their November wine walk. Tickets can be purchased on the association’s website.

Beginning with the tree lighting and running every Friday through December through December 23, North Pole Nights will be in Memorial Park from 6-8 p.m. with the snow machines running downtown and music provided by the Newberry Opera House. The Newberry County Chamber of Commerce will have story time with Mrs. Claus at the Chamber as well as Christmas crafts.

Santa will be in Memorial Park during this time for those that wish to meet him and take a quick photo, Carey said.  

As another part of the holiday season, the Newberry Arts Center is taking applications through November 23 for the Gingerbread Competition for adults and children. Applications can be downloaded from www.newberrychristmas.com.

Competition entries can be seen on display in the arts center, 1200 Main Street from December 2 through December 22. The winners for the competition will be announced on Saturday, December 3 at a breakfast with Santa at the Newberry Arts Center.

Santa’s tours of Newberry will be starting back this year from 5-6 p.m. throughout the holiday season on December 2, 9, 16 and 23. During this time, Santa will be taking a tour of Newberry’s neighborhoods by fire truck. Times, locations and more details on this event can be found at www.newberrychristmas.com under ‘Events.’

The City of Newberry is planning another fun photo contest involving this year’s downtown decorations! The photograph that best captures the magic of downtown Newberry during the holiday season will win a prize! This year’s photo contest will be run through a partnership with The Newberry Observer. Visit the City of Newberry on social media as well as following The Newberry Observer following downtown’s tree lighting for all the details.

“Christmas in Newberry is truly a city-wide effort,” said Parks, Recreation and Tourism Director Collin Shealy. “We’re grateful for the contributions of each city department, making downtown look picture perfect during the holiday season. Their hard work makes it a special place for the community and visitors to enjoy.”