PILOT MOUNTAIN — Local officials are hoping their planned Deck the Halls in Pilot Mountain holiday celebration turns out to be better than any the town has experienced before. Incorporating existing traditions in town with new ideas, organizers say a full day of festive fun is planned for Dec. 5.
The event has been organized by members of the Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority. Scott Needham, TDA president, explained, “it gives us a great opportunity for people outside of town to not only see the parade, but also experience all of what the town has to offer.”
Breakfast with Santa will start the day at the Armfield Civic and Recreation Center. Hosted by the Surry/Stokes Friends of Youth, the pancake breakfast will begin at 8 a.m. with a chance to visit Santa, have a picture made, and support youth mentoring programs in both Surry and Stokes counties. “We chose Pilot Mountain because of its central location for the people we serve,” said Janet Pearson, Surry/Stokes Friends of Youth program coordinator.
Businesses along Main and Key Streets have gotten into the holiday spirit with a window-decorating contest. The mayor and board of commissioners will serve as judges for the contest, selecting first, second and third place winners. Visitors will have a chance to participate in the People’s Choice Award when they vote for their favorite window online by following the link provided in each display.
Kim Baker, of Kritter Kutts, was the first to turn in an entry form, saying, “I decorate my window every year; I’m so glad this contest is finally happening.” With more than 20 businesses participating, there is more added to the windows each day creating some stiff competition.
Visitors are encouraged to stop by the visitor’s center in Town Hall beginning at noon to become one of Santa’s helpers. Santa needs help checking his list. Helpers are asked to visit businesses on the list to get the list checked. All helpers who return their stamped list by 7 p.m. will be entered in a drawing for multiple prizes, including gift certificates, t-shirts, and posters.
Over a dozen listed shops will be offering special promotions throughout the day such as store discounts, freebies, and door-prizes. Access Books and More will hold a reading of the Christmas story at 1 p.m. with a gift for all children who attend. The Cat in the Hat will spend the afternoon at Kritter Kutts. Myriam Haircolorist Salon will give haircuts to kids under 12 for $6 in preparation for photos with Santa.
As a family oriented event, hands-on activities for kids will be available at several locations. Laura Hardy will offer free hand-drawn, limited 2015 Pilot Mountain Christmas coloring posters for all ages. The Art of Massage will hold a Mama and Baby yoga class at 1 p.m., which requires advance registration, and have holiday crafts from 2-4 p.m.
Santa will see visitors in Town Hall from 2 to 4 p.m., his elf handing out a small treat. There is no fee, and parents are encouraged to bring their own cameras to capture the occasion.
While in Town Hall, visitors may also engage in the spirit of giving. A card making station will allow participants to create holiday cards for recipients of Meals on Wheels. With about 50 people benefiting from the program on a weekly basis, cards will be delivered with their holiday meals.
Other opportunities to join in the charitable spirit include a toy donation drop off for the Surry Yadkin Children’s Home at Cooper’s Sports Bar and a Toys for Tots drop off at Tweet and Company hair salon. The Living Room Coffeehouse will collect food for Second Harvest Food Bank, offering an entry into a prize drawing for each item donated. A chicken stew will be cooked by “Shorty” Ronnie Hunt for donations only with the proceeds going to assist with medical costs for premature three month old twins, Shane and Jackson Madden.
The tree lighting ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. in front of town hall. Mayor Dwight Atkins will say a few words and present the winners of the window decorating contest. Guest speaker Robert Reid Goodson will speak on behalf of his mother, Marilyn Goodson, sharing the history of the tree lighting in Pilot Mountain. “She first instigated the tree-lighting ceremony in the late 1990’s,” explained Sherri Collins. A sign language group will present two songs, followed by the NC Elementary Honors Chorus alumni singing three holiday tunes under the direction of Collins.
The 45th annual Christmas parade, sponsored by the Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad, will start at 6 p.m. “Ours being a night time parade, it allows for more decoration with light displays,” said Rescue Squad Chief, Darin Manuel. Line up for riding in the parade begins at 4 p.m. at East Surry High School. Entry rules can be found on the website: www.pilotmtnrescue.org.
Community groups have also gotten involved, showing support for the local businesses. A free gift wrapping station at The Pilot will be manned by members of the Pilot Mountain Area Business Association. The Civic Club will provide free cocoa and cookies beginning at 4 p.m. And the Pilot Mountain Ruritans have donated prizes for the window decorating contest.
“I am really looking forward to this. I’m impressed with how it has been organized, and the reaction so far has been great,” said Mayor Atkins. For current updates about the event, follow the Facebook event page: Deck the Halls in Pilot Mountain.
Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.