Bright Beginning: 20th Annual Holiday Lighting Festival Friday

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
By Joe Domelowicz

The 20th annual Winthrop Holiday Lighting Festival in French Square will feature professional entertainment, free photos with Santa, raffles, costumed characters, shopping specials at local stores and of course the lighting of the trees in French Square.

“The big things this year is that we’re actually bringing in “Wacky Chad” who was a contestant on ‘America’s Got Talent’ to perform at 3:30 p.m.,” said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Gaynor. “The Chamber thought that it would be cool to bring in an outside performer this year, even though it’s not something that we’ve done in the past and we really hope the crowds enjoy the extra show.”

‘Wacky Chad’ is known for performing extreme pogo tricks, juggling, comedy and other antics, and was a big hit with the home audience during his America’s Got Talent run.

According to Gaynor, this year’s Holiday Lighting Festival will also include lots of the favorite performances, sales, raffles and attractions that have made the event the biggest post-Thanksgiving Day party in Winthrop in the last 20 years.

“I want to invite everyone down to French Square on Friday to celebrate the season with family, friends, and neighbors,” said Chamber of Commerce President Bernice McIntyre. “The tree lighting ceremony is a special Winthrop tradition, a kind of event that many other towns don’t have.”

In addition to the performance by ‘Wacky Chad’, the event will feature free photos with Santa in French Square from 3 to 5 p.m., performances by the Middle School Chorus, Winthrop School of Performing Arts, Winthrop Playmakers, the students of John and Lori Wadkins, a martial arts demonstration by Cervizzi’s Martial Arts and caroling with the Girls Scouts. The Winthrop Fire Department will also be exhibiting its new fire engine, during a “Blessing of the Engine, to take place in French Square and they’ll of course be bringing Santa to the Square at 5:00 for the traditional lighting of the trees.

The entire event is scheduled to take place from 3 to 5 p.m.

Gaynor pointed out that even though the Holiday Lighting Festival is in its 20th year, the Chamber’s sponsoring of the lighting of Center area trees actually goes back much further than that.

“It was 20 years ago that the chamber decided to host an event to make a big deal out of the lighting, but we’ve been sponsoring the lighting of the trees for much longer than that,” said Gaynor.

“With the holiday season here, the Chamber wants to remind everyone of the many fine businesses in town who are eager to serve you,” said McIntyre. “Our motto is ‘keep the cheer here’, meaning that by patronizing our local businesses we’ll be investing in our own community.”

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