Highlands’ 19th annual Christmas tree lighting Saturday night was complete with Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, and the Toy Soldier. Officials say this was the largest crowd ever at the annual event, with estimates pegged in excess of a thousand.
For the Chamber of Commerce sponsored event, the huge crowd gathered on the closed off Main St. in front of Highlands United Methodist Church. Many visitors told Macon County News that they came to Highlands, bringing their children, just for this event. They joined Highlanders in the singing of Christmas carols. The Chamber provided hot chocolate and cookies at Town Square.
Local radio station WHLC’s Steve Day emceed the event. Les Scott, Highlands United Methodist Church Minister of Music, led the singing. Rev. Dr. Lee Bowman, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Highlands, read the Christmas story. And then, the moment everyone had waited for: Santa Claus counted down the seconds and the tree lights were turned on.
Day announced the winners of the Highlands Merchants window contest. Most whimsical went to the Dry Sink, owned by Alan Myer. The Olde Mountain Christmas Theme was awarded to The Christmas Tree, owned by Chris Kieltyka.