The official start of winter occurs a few days before Christmas, but it is already starting to feel and look like the holiday in Scotland County.
Temperatures have gotten nippy this week with lows in the 30’s and the city of Laurinburg has dusted off its holiday ornaments and lights for installation on Wednesday.
An initial deadline hits today for those wishing to enter a commercial float in this year’s Laurinburg-Scotland County Chamber of Christmas Parade.
If that is not enough to put you in the holiday mood, the annual drive-through Christmas spectacle — Candy Cane Wonderland, opened to visitors this week. It will be open from 6-10 p.m. daily at 2107 Family Farm Road in McColl, S.C. The event is free, and Candy Cane Wonderland will remain open until January.
The annual Christmas on Main and Laurinburg’s Christmas tree lighting are also both right around the corner.
Christmas on Main
Christmas on Main, planned for next Sunday at 1 p.m., is the first in a series of holiday related events to take place in Laurinburg.
Jim Willis, chairman of the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Corporation, said organizers were still putting final touches on that event, which is more than three decades old.
Calling it the “Granddaddy of the downtown events,” Willis said Christmas on Main is where “sales meets celebration.”
In addition to the local shops kicking off with sales inside their shops, downtown turns into an entertainment stage as the area becomes a single mall to start the Christmas season, Willis said.
“We’ve already started decorating the store,” Willis said of his retail business, ShirtTales. “I’m one of these guys that likes to wait until after Thanksgiving to do it, but you take a look around and realize that is passe these days.”
The event actually begins the day before — Nov. 17 — with ARTScotland’s second annual arts and crafts fair. A juried event, the art fair will be held Saturday and Sunday with live entertainment.
A venue for local artist to show and sell their work, the event will also include demonstrations by artists and activities for children. The Storytelling & Arts Center on South Main Street will be the host location.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Scotland County folks to recognize the great art in the county and to shop locally,” said ARTScotland facilitator Jan Schmidt.
On Sunday, the Christmas on Main will wrap up with the annual Christmas tree lightning ceremony.
“Christmas on Main is something that we have done for years,” Willis said. “It is wonderful event that occurs at the peak shopping time for downtown merchants. It serves as a signal for the beginning of the Christmas season.”
The annual Laurinburg Christmas Parade will follow on Dec. 1. Chamber officials are still accepting entries for the 2012 Scotland County Christmas Parade.
“A parade like this allows us to bring together all facets and segments of the community,” said Tonia Stephenson, chamber president. “I’m excited that we’re able to do it again this year.”
Parade participants will ride, drive, dance, sing and perform in front of thousands of eager onlookers beginning at 2 p.m.
Railroad Street will be converted to a one-way staging area beginning at 12:30 p.m. on parade day, and entries in the lineup before 1:30 will be entered into a homemade float contest. First and second place entries will be chosen based on the appearance, originality and theme. When the parade begins, participants will travel south down Main Street beginning at Railroad Street to the route’s end at Plaza Road at the College Plaza Shopping Center.
For those interested in purchasing a commercial float, the deadline is today. Float sizes/prices are full - $600, half - $375, or quarter - $265.
Ahead of those events, city workers spent Wednesday putting up holiday decorations in downtown Laurinburg and up and down Main Street.
Electric Department employees installed about 75 of the giant, lighted ornaments on utility poles.