Christmas lighting ceremony today in Forest City

Nov. 28, 2013 @ 05:05 AM

What: Forest City lighting ceremony

When: 6 to 9 p.m. Today

Lights on at 7 p.m.

Special music; Facebook grants

Pull out quote; 

“We think this is a family affair and we hope people will come downtown after they’ve enjoyed their family meals. It’s a great time for families to come out. That’s why we do this on Thanksgiving,” Danielle Withrow added. 

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FOREST CITY — The weather for tonight’s Christmas lighting ceremony in downtown Forest City is predicted to be clear and cold with a high around 26 degrees.

“Everybody needs to bundle up and I’m so glad it’s not going to rain,” Town Planner Danielle Withrow said Wednesday from Savannah, Ga. where she was taking a few days vacation before returning home for tonight’s big event.

Expected to draw thousands, the Christmas lighting ceremony is expanding its hours, beginning with special music at 6 p.m. by the Singsation Quartet from Charlotte and the Black Coffee Jazz Band.

At about 6:15 p.m., Facebook representatives from the Forest City Data Center will announce their newest recipients of community grants.

“Facebook is playing Santa Clause to a lot of community groups,” said Withrow. “That will be a lot of fun and it is something different. They are such a big part of the town, it’s good they are going to be here, too.”

At 7 p.m. Alysa Cape, 9, of Forest City will flip a switch that will light up nearly a million lights across town.

Forest City Mayor Dennis Tarlton asked Alysa in October to switch on the lights when she and her mother attended a town council meeting for another recognition.

Alysa, who has cancer received a bicycle from the Make A Wish Foundation and it was stolen from her house.

 Forest City Police Corporal Shawn Keeter searched for Alysa’s bicycle and when he was unable to locate it, he and other officers bought Alysa a bicycle just like the one that had been stolen. 

She will also ride in Tarlton’s car on Sunday for the Christmas parade that begins at 3 p.m.

After the lights go on tonight,  there will be more music by the jazz band and the Singsation Quartet who will lead carol singing from the audience.

Members are Tera Rockett, Teresa Skinner, Kristin Conner and former Forest City resident, Cathy Cobb Chauncy.

“Since she is from Forest City, they just offered to come,” Withrow said of Chauncy. The group is scheduled to return for special music on Saturday Dec. 14.

With the arrival of the December issue of Our State magazine, Withrow said she has received numerous calls from people in South Carolina planning to join the ceremony today.

“We learned last year people stayed around until 9 p.m. so that’s why we have extended hours,” Withrow said.

“We think this is a family affair and we hope people will come downtown after they’ve enjoyed their family meals. It’s a great time for families to come out. That’s why we do this on Thanksgiving,” Withrow added.