Thursday, November 18, 2010

“Christmas Village & Tree Lighting” Scheduled for Downtown Clayton on December 2

What does Santa Claus, Mayor Jody McLeod, and WWII veteran Bill O’Neal all have in common? Along with several thousand residents, they will be part of Clayton’s “Christmas Village & Tree Lighting” event on Thursday, December 2 from 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm in downtown Clayton.

Organized by the Clayton Downtown Development Association (CDDA), this is the fourth year that Clayton’s Main Street will close for 2-1/2 hours of music, holiday cheer, business open house, live Nativity, and the traditional tree lighting on the Town Square. “There’s a lot of activity on Main Street that night,” according to Lorraine Perri, co-chair of the event with Debbie Brown. “Last year nearly 4,000 people came downtown for the event,” she added.

“This event has become quite successful over the past several years and downtown business owners get good results,” said Ed Knight. “We want our residents to shop locally and this is a good opportunity to show them the type and quality of stores and services in downtown.”

Click here for the full schedule of events and activities.

Here's a brief rundown of activities:
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – along Main Street
- Downtown Business Open House
- Doggie Christmas Costume Contest and Parade
- Live Nativity
- Elementary School and church performances
- Clayton High Chorus at multiple locations
- Clayton High Concert Band
- Horne Memorial Handbell Choir
- Taylor Leopold, 2010 Clayton Idol Winner

8:00 pm – 8:10 pm
- Clayton High Marching Band from Lombard Street to Town Square

8:15 pm – 8:29 pm
- Welcome from Santa Claus, Mayor Jody McLeod and Grand Marshall & WWII Veteran Bill O’Neal
- Introduction of Storefront Decoration Contest Winners
- Music

8:30 pm – sharp!
- Countdown to light the Community Tree!

All downtown restaurants will be open and the Wagner House is offering a special Christmas buffet by reservation. Main Street will be closed and clear of all vehicles from 5:30 pm until 9:00 pm.

Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod will be the Master of Ceremonies and he will be accompanied by Clayton native and WWII veteran, Bill O’Neal, who will ride through downtown in a horse and carriage prior to the Tree Lighting ceremony.

Main Street will officially be closed from Smith Street to O’Neil Street from 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm so a special environment of festivities and activity can be created there.

A schedule of events and map will be posted online at the Town’s website ( and the DDA website ( before Thanksgiving.

Here are details of all the events and activities:

The Merchant’s Open House – 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – This is an opportunity for residents to experience what downtown has to offer from retail to service businesses. Many merchants will provide some sort of holiday refreshment, whether it is cider, soft drinks, cookies, and candies.

Dance & Choral Performances – Students from Clayton schools and studios will provide holiday performances, on a stage in the center of downtown.

Doggie Christmas Costume Contest & Parade – This continues to be a most popular contest. All contestants will gather at 6:00 pm at Doggie Do’z at 113 E First Street and then parade toward the Live Nativity at 439 E Main Street for judging and photos! All participants are requested to bring a small donation for Johnston County Animal Shelter. For more information, call Doggie Do’z at 553-5959.

Live Nativity – will be relocated to a fence-lined lot in the 400 block of E Main Street – follow the signs!

Donations - Toys for Tots drop-off box at Awards & Engravables, 327 E Main Street and Canned Goods for Clayton Area Ministries at Chamber of Commerce, 301 E Main Street.

Downtown Storefront Decorating Contest - Award Categories are Most Creative, Most Traditional and Best Overall. The judging will take place on November 20 & 21 by the winners of last year’s contest, but winners will receive the category plaque to display in their store all year.
Tree Lighting Ceremony – Activities on Main Street will end by 8:00 pm as everyone will be led by the Clayton High School Marching Band to the Christmas tree at Town Square. Storefront Decorating Contest awards will be announced, and then everyone will join in the countdown to light the Tree at 8:30 pm sharp!

For more information and schedule updates, visit or email or call 553-1545.

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