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Town of Newland and Newland Business Association Host Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade

Dec. 9, 2014. The town of Newland, the Newland Business Association and local town officials were happy to host this year’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Christmas Parade over the past two weekends. The tree lighting ceremonies were held on the Courthouse Square in downtown Newland on Saturday night, Nov. 29. And the grand parade streamed along Main Street from Lowes Foods up to the Courthouse Square this past Friday evening, Dec. 5.

The town square and all the trees were strung with lights donated by contributions from generous local business and community leaders, all thanks to the dedicated efforts of Town Board member and Mayor Pro Tem & NBA Member Donetta McKinney.

Newland Mayor, Valerie Jayes; Town Manager, Joletta Wise and Police Chief, Jason Brown were among local leaders who helped make the tree lighting another big hit. The setting was beautifully decorated and lit with the large central Christmas tree lighting accompanied by both Santa and Mrs. Claus right in the middle of it all. Following the tree lighting, Santa welcomed area kids to come whisper their most special Christmas present wishes. Families also had a chance to take photos of their kids sitting on Santa’s lap throughout this special pre-Christmas Eve visit to Newland.

Throughout the evening, the center stage was lit up with lights, greenery and special musical celebrities. AskCounty.com owner and official NBA event “MC” Jason DeWitt, directed the evening’s entertainment venue and acknowledged all those who helped make the ceremonies possible. The Johnson Brothers – who are a major talent and a big draw here in the High Country – performed many favorite pop and Christmas songs. Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill and Sierra Whitehead added their angelic voices with special Christmas songs. And, magician Johnny Greene dazzled the audience with great slight-of-hand tricks and clever repartee.

Then, the stage amped it up a couple of notches as Elvis (John Greene) Presley and Dolly (Carrie Stewart) Parton jammed through some of their Christmas classic hits. Not only did they sound great but, as always, they put on a great show, did a couple duets, and kept the large audience entertained for the rest of the evening.

This past Friday, Santa and all the Claus family were back again for Newland’s magical downtown Christmas parade. Floats from as far away as Spruce Pine and Roan Mountain joined Newland, Cranberry, Banner Elk, Linville, Crossnore and Lees-McRae College in the colorful procession. Area businesses, churches, schools and civic organizations flowed through downtown Newland as anxious kids, parents and families from all over greater Newland and neighboring communities lined both sides of the main drag to watch this colorful event.

Avery School marching bands, carolers, Cruz-in Fun Cars, dancers, Little Miss Frasier Fir winners, ACHS Homecoming King and Queen, Police and Sheriff representatives, ACS Relay for Life, Shriners, YMCA, Salvation ARmy, U.S. Forest and Parks’ Smokey the Bear, fire trucks, EMS vehicles, Newland and Avery government officials, high school JROTC troupes, horses and even costumed dogs were all part of the parade. The mile-long ensemble marched up to the courthouse square where the festivities continued into the evening. Area school classes had adorned the Christmas trees surrounding the large tree in the center of the square in a competition for “best original decorated tree;” with the winners being Avery Middle School for the People’s Choice Award and Crossnore School for the Critic’s Choice. Of course, each tree was amazing and distinctively laced with handmade decorations by the students.

Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye and NC House Representative Josh Dobson offered words of inspiration for Newland and Avery County’s “reason for the season” celebration. The Avery High School Band and local choir singers filled the square with Christmas music. And, once again, local “MC extraordinaire” Jason DeWitt joined Newland Business Association’s events coordinator Veronica Strong in announcing the itinerary, along with introducing special guests and performers.

Santa was on hand throughout the evening to get those last minute Christmas gift wishes from the kids and check with the mom’s and dad’s to find out who’s been naughty or nice. Informed sources reported that the unanimous declaration from parents was, “NICE”!

No time of the year brings families and communities closer together than this holiday season. And nobody does Christmas better than the greater Newland communities. With our Fraser Fir farms hosting “Choose & Cut” tree selection, our quaint shops offering great gift ideas, our area ski slopes adding downhill thrills to outdoor recreation, local restaurants and wineries bringing festive celebration to winter socializing, and community churches making a joyful noise throughout this inspired season…it’s no wonder Newland is often called Christmas Town at the Crossroads of the High Country.

And, remember—weather permitting—there will be caroling by the town Christmas tree and much more in store each Sunday through Dec. 20. All thanks to the town of Newland, its enthusiastic supporters, neighboring communities and the Newland Business Association.

Photos Submitted

Christmas Tree Lighting