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Zebulon rings in Christmas with tree lighting

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ZEBULON — Zebulon residents packed the downtown area Friday night for the town’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting.

The event, sponsored by the town of Zebulon, the Zebulon Chamber of Commerce, and the Zebulon Women’s Club, was full of excitement as the town pulled out all the stops and even closed down North Arendell Avenue for the evening.

Children were delighted by the snowy sledding hill and enchanted by special guests, Princesses Anna and Elsa, straight from Arendelle Castle. Local vendors and food trucks lined the streets, and the Zebulon Fire Department lit bonfires for making s’mores.

Entertainment before the tree lighting included several musical acts. A trio from Grace Church, with Kim Clarke, Keith Corbett, and town employee Jeanine Corbett sang several numbers. The Zebulon Middle School Advanced Band performed, as did Miss Zebulon’s Outstanding Teen Kailey Wadsworth with her sister, Carolina Princess Maya Wadsworth and Carolina Princess Lyla Ferguson.

Mayor Bob Matheny, along with Harper and Riley Anderson, pulled the switch to light the tree. The mood stayed festive and merry with a performance by the Holiday Band.

“Oh it’s wonderful,” said Matheny. “There’s a great crowd blanketing the street, I wouldn’t even guess how many. We’ve been doing this for several years, but nothing at this level. So we put a real effort into it this year.”

Approximately 11,000 new residents are projected in the coming years with the currently-approved housing developments in Zebulon, and events like the Christmas Tree Lighting will help Zebulon retain its small-town charm.

“That’s part of what we’re making the push for,” Matheny said, “and the other thing we’re making the push for is new merchants to come in and fill these blank spots. We’re trying to put an emphasis on downtown being the home of Zebulon.”

The next holiday event planned for the town is the Zebulon Christmas parade, scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.