91-year old Clayton native and WWII veteran, Bill O'Neal was the Grand Marshall for the event and rode with Santa in the horse and carriage all evening and provided the count-down to light the tree itself. The tree was lit a few beats earlier than Mr. O'Neal's count, but a large cheer went up when it was lit and the countdown ended. Here's a video of the countdown and lighting.
The event included student performances from local schools, local musicians and a live nativity. Downtown businesses reported good activity during their open house and the Doggie Christmas Costume Contest & Parade was well attended. The contest winner was a Papillion mix, "Missy" who came as a Christmas present; 2nd place was chihuaha "Halo" who came as Rudolph in a sleigh and 3rd place was "Oliver, a Yorky dressed as a snowflake.
Best Overall: City Florist
Most Creative: The Coffee Mill
Most Traditional: Lipscomb's Learning Center
Grinch Award - SignAge of the Carolinas. Mayor Jody McLeod holds up this year's "Grinch Award" and noted that, "the bar has been raised and you'll have to see why at 218 W Main Street."
218 W Main
The event was organized by the Clayton Downtown Development Association, Inc. with DDA Promotion Committee members, Debbie Brown, owner of Sunshine Health Wellness, and Lorraine Perri as event co-chairs. They did a marvelous job with the help of about 35 volunteers, including the Clayton Youth Council from Clayton Parks & Recreation.
Sponsors of the event are Town of Clayton, Clayton Glass & Mirror, Talecris, Clayton News-Star and Time Warner Cable.
See you next year on Thursday, December 1, 2011!!