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It's Christmas Town

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Dating back even before the days when Howard Harrill Decorating dressed up towns, cities, malls and other venues all over the country for Christmas, Forest City has been lit up, ribboned and bowed.

"It's a Hallmark Christmas town," Amy Bridges, Downtown Community Development Director said of the lights and special events that will soon gussy up Forest City for the season.

Carriage rides, hay rides, ice skating, and downtown businesses rolling out the welcome mat all get underway with the lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, November 25.

Mayor Steve Holland, special guests, and the In His Glory quartet will kick off the season at the downtown fountain. Christmas carols will be sung.

And the ceremony kicks off weeks of holiday action.

The town's inspiring and community building Christmas parade begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, November 28. Floats, bands, fire engines and dance studios will dot the parade route to the jubilation of all who gather along Main Street. There will even be a guy who bears a resemblance to Santa there. Of course, the real Santa will be busy elsewhere.

Carriage rides will run on Fridays from 6 until 8:45 p.m. on December 3, 10, and 17 and on Saturdays during the same hours December 4, 11 and 18.

Hayrides are set for 6 p.m. until folks stop coming on Fridays, December 3, 10, and 17.

There is always plenty of information on all activities at TownOfForestCity.com or by calling 828-447-1730.

Ray Pittman who spent 26 years working with the Downtown Merchants Association has lots of good memories, especially of Christmas parades.

"For some people it will be as close to church as they will ever get," Pittman said of the annual parade, "And a lot of churches realize this is part of their outreach." He also said the activities, floats and marching units that come from "clubs, businesses, schools and churches really help to kick off the Christmas season.

When Mayor Holland and his special guests throw the switch to light Main Street on Thanksgiving night, he will be renewing a tradition that goes back at least 93 years.

According to a clipping from a 1928 newspaper, the lights ran from First Methodist Church to a car dealership in the west end. A city official named Frank Dorsey was at the helm of the crew that ran the lights.

Small pines were decorated along Main Street to complete the holiday cheer.

Folks come from across the region to enjoy the special events and see the million lights along Main Street Forest City.

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