Ice skating, snow and plenty of Christmas cheer will fill downtown Goldsboro during the annual Downtown Lights Up celebration Tuesday night.

Activities start at 5 p.m. and continue through 8 p.m., in front of City Hall, along Center Street and at the Cornerstone Commons.

Activities will start at 5 p.m. with the traditional lighting of the Christmas lights expected at 5:30 p.m. on the steps of City Hall.

Mayor Chuck Allen will flip the switch, with the help of Geoff Hulse, former Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. president, who will be dressed as the Grinch, said Erin Fonseca, downtown Goldsboro promotions coordinator.

At the flip of the switch, the large magnolia tree in the Ash Street circle, the city's water tower and trees along Center Street will be illuminated with Christmas lights, which will remain on throughout the holiday season.

"Downtown Lights Up is a community favorite event, because it's the official start to the holiday season in downtown Goldsboro," Fonseca said. "On the count of 10, the streets and water tower will light up with thousands of twinkling lights, followed by falling snow and festive entertainment on the steps of historic City Hall."

Downtown Lights Up is a family friendly event that is offered at no cost to area residents and visitors.

More snow will be blown over the Center Street median, near City Hall, Santa Claus will be in his sleigh and vendors and performers will be on hand until about 7 p.m.

Horse-drawn trolley rides will be available once again, with the pickup location at the John Street parking lot, on Center Street. The no-cost rides will be offered from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Also planned in the John Street parking lot is the showing of the movie, "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." The Arts Council of Wayne County will also have a craft area where children can make a popsicle reindeer.

In the spirit of the holiday season, the trolley rides will continue to be offered, at no cost, through the holiday season. Rides will be available every Tuesday night before Christmas, on Nov. 28, Dec. 5, Dec. 12 and Dec. 19.

The popular ice skating rink will also return this year, with a $5 cost for each participant. The rink will be set up in the Cornerstone Commons and available from 6 to 8 p.m. Also at the Cornerstone Commons will be several princess and "Frozen" characters.

Downtown Lights Up will also offer a chance to shop in downtown stores. Several businesses will have extended hours and many will offer specials and special displays for the season.

"We wanted to add activities that would draw crowds from City Hall and down Center Street," Fonseca said. "It's a great opportunity for festive holiday fun and also to get a jumpstart on your holiday shopping.

"We invite everyone to bring their whole family to enjoy the beauty of the season."