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Tree dazzles, snow flutters at Wake Forest celebration

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WAKE FOREST — Wake Forest is lit.

The annual Lighting of Wake Forest last Friday saw the town’s 30-foot Christmas tree illuminated with bulbs of green and red. Hundreds packed into Centennial Plaza for the countdown before Mayor Vivian Jones flipped the switch, dazzling children and adults with winter wonder.

“Wow! Beautiful!” Jones exclaimed as the lights on the tree flashed on and the crowd cheered and laughed.

During the event, attendees lined up for photos, watched children’s choirs sing, donated new socks to charity and mingled with friends and neighbors.

Last Friday’s public festival was also a celebration of the reopening of East Owen Avenue, which underwent an extensive streetscape reconfiguration this year. The downtown street, directly in front of town hall (and where The Wake Weekly office is) was the scene of holiday cheer: artificial snow playgrounds and sledding, stilted performers, Christmas carols and a Stufts food truck.

Santa was there, too. Jolly St. Nick was brought in on a Wake Forest firetruck and after Jones gave Mr. Claus a key to the city, he sat inside town hall to take pictures with eager kids lined up.

If you’re not on the naughty list, you can meet Santa again Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at Sugar Magnolia Cafe, 219 S. White St.

Three children’s choirs sang carols and holiday tunes at last week’s event: Wake Forest Elementary School Chorus, Wake Forest Children’s Choir and Patriot Pride Honors Chorus from Heritage Middle School. The Heritage High School Jazz Ensemble also performed.

The Wake Forest Woman’s Club sponsored a children’s craft event after the tree lighting. Sam’s Club offered free cookies to go with free hot chocolate from Wake Forest United Methodist Church.