Christmas celebration set for Saturday

By Dean Palmer - Special to the News

Christmas will come early to downtown Pilot Mountain this Saturday as the Pilot Mountain Tourism Development Authority hosts the second annual “Deck the Halls” holiday kick-off.

The day will feature a full and varied afternoon of events, thanks to the participation of a long list of local merchants as well as business and civic organizations.

“We want this to be a fun, family-friendly day that encourages people to come out, shop with our merchants and get to know our town,” explained authority representative Diane Blakemore. “This stems from an idea we had for a window decorating contest along Main Street and that will again be a part of this year’s activities. Many of the merchants have already finished their windows and all will be required to have theirs done by Saturday.”

Shoppers will be encouraged to vote for their favorite storefront with awards to be presented. Other holiday touches will include Christmas music throughout the town and the Town Christmas tree, which will be in place. An official lighting ceremony is planned for Dec. 3, before the annual Christmas parade.

For those needing a boost in Christmas spirit, a feature activity for Saturday will take place on the lawn of the Charles Stone Memorial Library. There, arrangements have been made for commercial grade snow to be delivered, with some 3-4 inches piled to transform the area into a “Winter Wonderland.”

The undertaking is being sponsored by the Pilot Mountain Women’s Club, the Pilot Mountain Area Business Association, the Town of Pilot Mountain, Kim Quinn – CPA and the Charles Stone Memorial Library.

“This is something new that we think everyone will really enjoy,” Blakemore said. “It’s the kind of snow that is used on TV and movie sets and we’ll encourage everyone to enjoy it as long as it lasts.”

Many of the afternoon’s events will extend from Town Hall and the Pilot Mountain Visitor Center, which will serve as a hub for activities.

Among these will be a return of the “Santa’s Helper List,” with visitors encouraged to pick up a list of some 20 participating merchants who will be offering a varied selection of holiday sales, drawings, discounts, treats and activities for the day, including live Christmas music and entertainment. Santa’s helpers will then be asked to visit each shop where their list will receive a stamp. After collecting all stamps, shoppers will then return their lists to Town Hall to be entered into a drawing for prizes.

Many merchants will also make a special effort to provide children’s activities, including a live reading of the Christmas story, Christmas crafts, pictures with Santa and other creative offerings.

Back at Town Hall, youngsters will be encouraged to drop a letter into Santa’s mailbox and a card-making station will be open to all. Visitors will be encouraged to make a pair of cards, one for a favorite friend or relative and a second to be given to brighten the Christmas of a local participant in the Meals on Wheels program.

Hayrides will be offered from 12-5, beginning at the Stone Library and extending through the downtown area to the end of Main Street. Periodic stops will be made throughout the route for visitors to stop at Town Hall or a favorite merchant and later reconnect to continue their hayride.

While the Main Street activities will draw to a close at 5 p.m., Blakemore noted that visitors can extend their holiday festivities by taking advantage of Larry and Rachel Charpiat’s Pilot Mountain Christmas light display, located east of town on NC Highway 268.

“We’re very pleased with the participation of our businesses and community organizations,” Blakemore noted. “That has allowed us to focus on family and community and to offer an event where everything, aside from the shopping, is free.”

“This is important to our economy and helps to give our small businesses the support they need to do well for another year,” she continued. “And also important is that it gives our community a chance to come together and enjoy the holiday season, to meet friends and neighbors while they enjoy our small-town atmosphere.”

By Dean Palmer

Special to the News

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