The sights and sounds of Christmas will fill Main Street on Saturday evening, beginning at 5:30 with the traditional tree lighting at Pilot Mountain Town Hall.
The tree lighting will center around the music of the season featuring former and current local high school students. The musical portion of the evening is organized and directed by Sherri Collins, who before retirement had served for years in the music department of multiple Surry County schools.
According to Collins, the tree lighting ceremony had previously served as a part of Pilot Mountain Christmas tradition before gradually falling by the wayside. Four to five years ago she began working to revive the event, with holiday music as a focal point.
A consistent highlight of the resurrected celebration has been performances by the a group of North Carolina Honors Chorus alumni, all trained voices with local roots. Throughout her career, Collins has worked to help and encourage area youths to attempt participation in the Honors Chorus program.
This year’s alumni is expected to feature 12 members, the largest group yet, ranging in time of participation from 1993 to current students. Many adult members have now moved away but return to take part in the ceremony. Beforehand, members will gather 4:30 at First Presbyterian Church to rehearse Christmas classics, carols and other favorites.
Also performing will be a duet from the East Surry Honors Chorus, featuring Alison Dotson, a senior, and junior Sara Terwilliger.
Finishing the trio of performances will be former East Surry student Andrew Milsaps, a singer and guitarist who will perform his own holiday composition.
“I see this as an important part of the holiday season,” Collins noted. “These are trained voices focused on sharing about Christmas and the birth of Jesus. They’re sharing their talent for the glory of God.”
As part of the festivities, winners will be announced from last week’s Deck the Halls in Pilot Mountain window decorating contest. Four winners will be named with a first, second and third place named by judges while a “People’s Choice” winner will be selected based on likes from the Deck the Halls in Pilot Mountain Facebook page.
The ceremony will be followed by the 47th annual Pilot Mountain Christmas Parade. This year, for the first time, entries other than those sponsored by schools, public service agencies or non-profit groups will be asked to register and pay a $10 entry fee. According to the sponsoring Pilot Mountain Rescue Squad, proceeds from fees will go toward the squad’s new Give a Kid a Christmas charitable campaign.
The procession will leave the East Surry High School parking lot at 6 p.m. with the line-up of floats, bands, public service vehicles, classic cars and trucks and other Christmas attractions making their way along the length of Main Street.
The East Surry High School tennis team, participants in this year’s state championship match, will serve as grand marshals for the evening.