Festival Lights Up Downtown

story and photos by Lindsey Chester

Downtown Cary kicked off the holidays in style this past weekend with the annual Ole Time Winter Festival and tree lighting held on Chatham Street and Town Hall campus.During the day, over 50 booths filled with assorted crafts, foods and gifts lined the streets of downtown.

Santa made an appearance and families could have their pictures taken by our own Brooke Meyer.

Performances from Cary Elementary’s chorus and Triangle Dance (and others) were set on a stage near Fidelity Bank’s downtown corner.

As night fell, the Page-Walker Arts and History Center held an open house with musicians and carolers stationed on each of the three floors. Over 500 people streamed through the doors awaiting the Cary Christmas Tree Lighting. Folks could take free carriage rides around the campus on one of 2 beautiful horse drawn sleighs.

Crowds gathered in the parking lot and overflowed the bleachers set up for viewing. The weather this year was a big improvement over the wet snow that kept down the crowds in 2010.

At 6pm the nearby stage lit up with local talent. Groups included Once More With Feeling, Ivana Premasingh’s solo What Child is This, Cary High’s Green Eggs and Jam,Ye Ning Feng singing Silent Night, Alex Ault, The Peppermint Patties (who had to vamp while a train passed through), Erin Renee & Friends, and the Cary Elementary Choir who finished up with Frosty.

Former long time Cary High School band director Jimmy Burns did a quick improvisational on his horn and flipped the switch to light up Cary’s live tree which stands at the south end of Town Hall. My family has made this hometown winter festival our annual Holiday kickoff. We catch up with friends and enjoy the connectedness we have found here in Cary.