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Half-Mile of Christmas Cheer on tap

Qualities such as happiness, joy, merriment, delight and glee might seem hard to measure in real terms — but organizers of an event next Thursday have come up with an exact distance.

This involves plans for the Half-Mile of Christmas Cheer to be held in downtown Mount Airy from 6 to 8 p.m.

That length refers to a stretch running from the central business district all the way to the Municipal Building on South Main Street, where the lighting of the official city Christmas tree will cap off next Thursday night’s festivities.

En route to that site, various musical and other groups will be staged at open-air locations downtown to perform for about one hour until those assembled make their way to the traditional tree lighting on the City Hall grounds.

“It’s just a good way to jump-start everyone’s Christmas spirit,” said Polly Long of the Mount Airy Appearance Commission, which is organizing and sponsoring the Half-Mile of Christmas Cheer.

The format involving performances by the different groups began two years ago as a drive-through event prompted by the situation with COVID-19 at that time, but which also caused traffic bottlenecks.

With regulations relaxed in 2021, the setup was altered in which those attending can walk to the performance stations along the street and be entertained without traffic hassles.

That change worked well last year, Long added Friday, and she and others serving on an event committee — including Jennie Lowry of the Downtown Business Association and Jenny Smith of Mount Airy Visitors Center — are hoping for even more success this year.

Lineup of groups

The list of participating performers and the spots they can be found Thursday include:

• The Mount Airy High School Band and Chorus, which will be in front of Robby’s Sales;

• A Mormon group is scheduled to perform at Brannock and Hiatt Furniture;

• Surry County Dance Center — Mount Airy Museum of Regional History;

• The Surry Sings Community Chorus — the gazebo at the corner of Main and Oak streets;

• Hispanic singers — under the downtown clock;

• Dance Mix with Tracie — at A Touch of Mayberry;

• The Voce choral ensemble — Mayberry Antique Mall;

• The Surry Arts Council Dancers — the Earle Theater;

• A blues band that will occupy a spot at the corner park;

• Dance Works — Mayberry on Main;

• A bluegrass band that will play at Mount Airy Tractor Toyland;

• Hispanic dancers — the downtown rest area;

• The North Surry High School Chorus — Mount Airy Post Office.

A group from Grace Moravian Church will perform at the tree lighting site.

Also, representatives of Blue Bear Cafe are scheduled to offer cookies and hot chocolate at Fancy Gap Outfitters.

Long is excited about the addition of dancers to the talent slate this year.

Community parade

After about an hour of performances, the Mount Airy Mount Airy High School Band and Chorus is scheduled to lead a procession from downtown to the Municipal Building.

“So we will have a real community parade to the lighting of the Christmas tree,” Long said of how everyone will assemble behind the band.

Once at the grounds of the Municipal Building, Traci George — the reigning Citizen of the Year for Mount Airy — will have the honor of flipping a switch to illuminate the tree.

In addition to the music by the Grace Moravian group there, members of the Beacons of First Presbyterian Church are slated to provide free hot chocolate.

That segment of the evening is to conclude with everyone turning on their cell phone flashlights before a group singing of “Silent Night.”

“So it should be a real Christmas moment,” Long said.

With the Half-Mile of Christmas Cheer being held on the first day of December, she also would like to think of that as the first day of the Christmas season locally.

“It’s just the community coming together.”



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