Towns flip the switch for first Christmas lights

A few communities will be lighting up their trees this weekend to jump start the quick transition between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Middletown will hold its tree lighting ceremony at sundown today, providing holiday shoppers a chance to sit in front of a bonfire with hot cider and food provided by local businesses. Robbie Limon will be contributing toward the holiday swing by singing a few Christmas carols at the event.

Mayor Charles Harbaugh said the lighting sets the holiday stage for town festivities later on.

“Now that we have the Christmas parade they really go hand in hand,” he said. “It really builds momentum for the Christmas parade.”

He said this year’s new set of LED lights will consume less power and former mayor Ray Steele has donated money toward electricity costs for keeping the 35-foot tree lit throughout the season.

Winchester’s Old Town Parade on Monday evening will lead up to Santa and Mrs. Claus lighting the town tree in front of the Old Town Court House Civil War Museum. The holiday parade will bring floats and festive marching band music through Old Town to the pedestrian mall, where choirs at the court house will sing in the big flip of the switch.

According to Downtown Manager Jennifer Bell, setting the tree up has been a community effort, with area businesses helping to transport and wedge the tree five feet into the ground last Friday. Decoration began earlier this week, and the lighting will complete the area’s holiday visage.

Bell said this year’s Norway spruce will have a slightly different look than blue spruces of the past few years. Decorations around the area, some repurposed from previous years, will already be set up to help shoppers get in the holiday mood while browsing deals at the Loudoun Street Pedestrian Mall.

“It’s sort of a picturesque shopping area,” she said. “The city workers have been working very hard for the last few days to make sure that downtown’s decorated beautifully.”

• Around 5:30 p.m. Friday off of Reliance Road near Carolyn Avenue in Middletown.

• 7 p.m. Monday in Old Town Winchester.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com