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‘Twas the Light Before Christmas
And all through North Hills, every neighbor stands waiting, for the lights to be real.
By Carla Turchetti
Photos courtesy of North Hills
The holiday season in Midtown doesn’t officially begin until the lighting of the North Hills tree; even though Christmas decorations show up in stores weeks before, it just isn’t real until the tree glows.
The annual Christmas Tree Lighting has been a celebratory happening at North Hills, in the Commons near the Main District fountain, for more than a decade. Thanks to North Carolina’s unpredictable weather, the Tree Lighting can be a “gloves, hat, scarf, and coat” kind of event as easily as it can be one for short sleeves and sandals.
But no matter the climate, the warmth of the Christmas spirit is everywhere at the lighting of the 41-foot-tall tree. And, while it’s never easy to maneuver a tree of that size into place, the event staff has taken steps to streamline the process.
“The tree we light is actually artificial and pre-decorated with lights, which makes everyone’s life a lot easier,” says Anna Zevenhuisen, special events and marketing manager for Midtown Events and Kane Realty.
This year’s tree lighting will take place on Saturday, November 18th. The family-friendly activities will get underway at 3:30 in the afternoon. There is always festive music, as well as crafts and activities for the children. The trackless train ride around North Hills is an extremely popular offering, and, this year, Snow My Yard will be presenting snow slopes for some authentic wintertime fun.
Jolly Old Saint Nicholas is scheduled to arrive at the party at 6:00. And as the crowd sings Santa Claus is Coming to Town, the switch will be flipped to light the tree.
Taller than many of the buildings that surround it, this majestic tree is blanketed in so many twinkling lights that, if you squint your eyes, all you can see is a large column of sparkle.
Once the tree is lit, Santa will take requests from all the good little girls and boys—and maybe even the naughty ones as well. He’ll make his exit around 7:30, but the tree will burn brightly throughout the season.
The Tree Lighting at North Hills is a community effort put on with the help of local businesses, and Sir Walter Chevrolet is the presenting sponsor. The sledding slopes are sponsored by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical. Wells Orthodontics and Renaissance Dental Center have teamed up to provide the trackless train rides, KIND snacks is the sponsor of the bounce house, and PlatinumSitters is behind the face-painting and balloon-twisting for the kids.