Time to twinkle: Christmas in the city
By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 26, 2008 1:46 PM
One-year-old Christopher Beal, left, and his brother, Jacob, 5, sit on Santa's lap at this year's Downtown Lights Up event in Goldsboro Tuesday. Mayor Al King flipped the switch on the holiday lights lining the median on Center Street.
Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. executive director Julie Thompson, left, holds the microphone for Mayor Al King on a chilly Tuesday evening. When King got the cue, the streets lit up -- as did the eyes of many of the children in attendance.
Children -- decked out in official Christmas attire -- wait for the magic moment when Mayor Al King flips the switch to light up Center Street.
Leon Wallace holds out his hands.
"How did they do that?" the 6-year-old says, looking skyward at the white flakes falling on Center Street just after sunset. "That right there. How did they do that?"
His father, Charles, smiles.
"Must be magic," he said.
Leon's eyes light up.
"Cool," he replies.
Tuesday evening's Downtown Lights Up event brought with it all you might expect from a holiday celebration.
Some took trolley rides while sipping hot cocoa.
Others sang Christmas songs and visited with Santa Claus.
And the manufactured snow that made Leon's night was complemented by a chilly breeze.
Julie Hamilton was among the children bundled up outside City Hall.
But unlike many others, this particular 4-year-old wasn't interested in sitting on Santa's lap -- at least, not yet.
Her father, Bradley, walks behind her as she creeps up on one of the horses.
Her eyes are wide open and she is wearing a smile.
"Hi," she says, looking up at the animal. "Can I pet you?"
Her father bends down.
"Hold on, honey," he says, slipping his hands under his daughter's arms before lifting her. "Now you can. Go ahead."
Like Julie, dozens of others were making memories, too.
There was 6-year-old Nicole Brown and her hug from Winnie the Pooh.
And 9-year-old Jason Yates finally got to tell Santa what he really wants under the tree this year.
"A Nintendo Wii," he said with a grin. "That's all I want."
But none seemed quite as thrilled as J.P. Arrington.
"He likes the lights," his mother, Teresa, said. "As soon as our tree goes up, every night he is watching them."
So when Mayor Al King got his cue, J.P.'s eyes lit up with each tree and garland gracing Center Street.
"Whoa," he said.
"I hope he enjoys it," Teresa said to her sister, Shea, a hand on J.P.'s shoulder. "It's done and over with before you know."
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