11/15/11 — Downtown lights going up

View Archive

Downtown lights going up

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on November 15, 2011 1:46 PM

Full Size

Allison Carter

Downtown Goldsboro is being decorated for the holiday season, with city workers still straightening up the garlands and lights in time for the downtown lighting ceremony next Tuesday.

Attendees of the Veterans Day Parade held downtown might have noticed some sagging Christmas decorations as the city prepares for the holiday season, but Scott Newsome, the city's buildings and traffic maintenance superintendent, said they will be fixed before next Tuesday's lighting ceremony.

Newsome said the Public Works Department has been working to get the decorations up early to give employees plenty of time to get the decorations just right. The city's annual "Lights Up Downtown" ceremony will be held Tuesday at sundown.

Workers installed the lights in the wee hours of the morning last Thursday, working for about four or five hours beginning at 2 a.m. to limit their effect on traffic.

"We use two bucket trucks and a front end loader so it takes up the whole street. That's why we do it at that time," he said. "We try to get them up in the air before traffic starts up on Center Street."

The aim is to get the decorations installed initially, he said, giving his crews plenty of time to make sure everything looks right in advance of the big event.

"We have now until the 22nd. We go back to make sure the swag is hanging right and we'll try to make sure everything perfect for the 22nd. That's why we hang them a little bit early, to make sure we have no problems. We can go back with one truck and get everything straight. We'll go back and readjust a few of them and make sure everything's burning."

This year's ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. in front of City Hall, where Mayor Al King will switch on the lights and officially bring in the holiday season in the city.

"Everybody looks forward to it," said Lara Landers, promotions coordinator for Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. "It kind of kicks Goldsboro's holiday season off. It really is pretty with all of the lights on and the water tower. That's the first thing people see coming into town from the highway is the lit up water tower downtown."

The ceremony is proof that downtown remains the heart of the city, she said.

"Even the naysayers come out to see the pretty Christmas lights," Landers said, adding that only a "true Scrooge" could manage to not be warmed by the sight of the decorations and proud to be a part of Goldsboro.

Vendors will be selling treats at the event and local entertainment acts will perform. There will be appearances by Santa Claus, the Grinch, the Arts Council of Wayne County's Mr. Crumbly and other children's characters.

The Wayne County Animal Education and Adoption Center will have animals for adoption on-site.

The night will culminate with the North Carolina Symphony Holiday Pops Concert at the Paramount Theatre, which Vincent Bridgers, theatre service coordinator, said has been a Paramount holiday tradition since the theater opened back up in 2008.

Bridgers said Monday that there were about 100 seats left for the concert, which he said is usually a sold-out performance.

"We do a lot of advance ticket sales. It's very popular," he said.

For tickets, call the Paramount ticket office at 583-8432. Tickets are also available online.