11/21/07 — The lights are on downtown

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The lights are on downtown

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on November 21, 2007 1:46 PM

Snow was cascading from the sky, almost magically.

Caroling could be heard up and down the streets.

Swatches of red and green spotted the crowd, with children dressed up as Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Even dogs had on their holiday attire.

It wasn't Christmas in Goldsboro -- at least not yet.

But everyone seemed to be in the Christmas spirit at Tuesday night's Downtown Lights Up.

Even at 5 p.m., you could hear whispers of the countdown until the lights went on.

"Only a little longer," one mother said to her son.

"Fifteen more minutes," another said to her children.

You could see the anticipation in the children's eyes -- ready to hear the countdown to the flip of the light switch.

Adults were enjoying the night, too -- holding their significant other's hand, remembering their childhood Christmases, getting lost in the happiness that comes with the season.

"This is my first one," said Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp.'s administrative assistant Lynette Coultrap. "I don't know where to look."

And when Mayor Al King got on the microphone at 5:30 p.m. to announce the lights were coming on, everyone turned quiet.

"One, two, three," he said along with the crowd -- and after a few seconds, the lights lining Center Street came on all at once.

Then, it really felt like Christmas, and the line to see Santa Claus got even longer.

Children were jumping up and down, wracking their brains to find exactly what they wanted for Christmas.

They didn't want to forget when they got to sit on Santa's lap.

"I want a new bike and a remote control airplane," 6-year-old William Davenport said.

Four-year-old Abby Wise had Rudolph painted on her cheek, but she was shy about saying what she wanted.

"I want a bike, too," she said, complete with pink strings and a white basket.

Brother and sister Garrett and Emily Smith wanted more electronic toys for Christmas.

"I want a remote control Hummer," Garrett, 5, said.

"And I want a Nintendo DS," said Emily, 10.

She was also happy that she didn't have to pick up a book for a couple of days. Thanksgiving vacation began today for most local children.

"We're celebrating being out of school right now," she added.

Santa was not the only one who made an appearance, though.

The Grinch was also out and about, trying to blend in with his Santa coat and black pants, but his lime green face made him stand out in the crowd.

"He tickled me," said Ruthie Thompson, 2.

"Who did?" her mother Julie Thompson, DGDC director, asked.

"He did," her daughter continued, pointing to the Grinch and laughing.

Other children turned their attention to the trolleys and the large horses pulling them.

"The horses are smelly, but I like them," said 9-year-old, "almost ten," Kenny Archibald.

Hot chocolate, cider and cookies in hand, families and friends came out to enjoy the downtown area.

Some have made it a tradition.

Randy and Jewel Sauls' daughters haven't missed one yet.

"I drove home from college last year when it was pouring rain," Carmen Sauls said. "I remember, we ran up Center Street because I didn't want to miss it."