It was also the last time that the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce organized the event, but, as usual, it was a very festive setting as the spirit of Christmas arrived in Carter County.
The highest honor given in the Christmas tree lighting is to flip the switch on the large electrical box banded to the base of the tree. This year, the honor went to leaders in Elizabethton’s brand new Main Street organization.
The honored switch flippers were:
• Frankie Bailey, Main Street Elizabethton president and owner of The Coffee Company.
• Cathy Shoun, Main Street Elizabethton vice president and owner of the Dressing Room.
• Richard Barker, Main Street Elizabethton Economic Vitality chair and Elizabethton city councilman.
• Chris Cannon, Main Street Elizabethton Promotion chair and owner of Cannon’s Fine Home Furnishings & Interiors.
• Patti Whitson, Main Street Elizabethton Merchants chair and senior branch officer at Edward Jones Investments.
The representatives of Main Street Elizabethton did a good job and the lights on the big tree came on at just the right time.
A large crowd turned out on the chilly night to get an early dose of Christmas spirit. Most stayed well after the last event, talking to friends they had not seen in a while and giving out early Christmas greetings. The Friends of Sycamore Shoals helped warm the spirits by dispensing hot apple cider. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Park also provided the traditional Christmas rifle volley by the Overmountain Men reenactors.
The lights shining on the tree and atop nearby Lynn Mountain certainly helped to put people in a Christmas spirit, but music, especially the signing of favorite Christmas carols also contributed to the mood.
As always, the Elizabethton High School Choral group hit all the right notes and sang some of the favorites. Debbie Gouge once again directed the group on this busiest season for the singers.
The Happy Valley High School Trumpeters under the direction of Raymond Morton performed the “Star Spangled Banner.”
More Christmas lights were lit with a candlelighting by the University of Tennessee Extension Service 4-H Club.
With so much Christmas spirit, no one appeared to be talking about who would replace the able hand of the Chamber of Commerce when the 32nd lighting of the Christmas tree taks place a year from now.
Perhaps Santa Claus will let us know.