11/24/10 — Let there be lights

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Let there be lights

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on November 24, 2010 1:46 PM

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Charlotte Taricani, 7, looks at the downtown lights while sitting on her mother, Virginia's, shoulders during the annual Downtown Lights Up holiday event. The holiday lights in downtown Goldsboro were lit as the highlight of the ceremony. Other activities included holiday songs, sleigh rides, Santa and face painting.

His hands extended to catch the "snow" falling from the section of sky just above him, Robbie Franklin turned his focus to the horses that had, moments earlier, made their way up Center Street.

"That's what I want for Christmas," the 7-year-old said, pointing at one of the animals before looking up at his parents. "I want a horse. This one. OK, Dad?"

The boy's father, Zachary, laughed.

"Do you really think Santa can get a horse into his sleigh?" he said. "Or down the chimney?"

"Maybe," Robbie replied. "Santa's magic."

Hundreds of Wayne County residents gathered in front of Goldsboro's historic City Hall Tuesday evening for the annual "Downtown Lights Up" event.

And some, like Haley Wellman, only had one thing on their minds.

"There's Santa. There's Santa," the 5-year-old said, bouncing on her mother, Heather's, shoulders. "I want to talk to him, OK?"

But not everyone who showed up was there to have their first conversation with the man they still believe will fill the space under their Christmas tree with presents.

Miles Combs just wanted a cookie and cup of hot chocolate -- and to get his face painted so he could prove to his friends he got to attend the celebration on a school night.

"It's so cool," the 9-year-old said. "I even saw my teacher."

And Jeremiah Cook came simply for the lights.

"Every year," his mother, Tammie, said. "This boy loves these lights."

So when Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. president Geoff Hulse gave Mayor Al King his cue and the countdown commenced, Jeremiah's eyes got a little bigger -- his smile, a little wider -- until, in the flip of a switch, the beginning of another holiday season had been marked.

"Whoa. You see that?" Jeremiah said. "It gets so bright."

"I know baby," Tammie replied. "Once we get in the car tonight, he'll ask to drive down the strip so he can see them all -- and every time we get in the car until Christmas."