If shopping and putting up Christmas decorations didn’t do the trick, this week’s Christmas in the City promises to get everyone in a festive mood. Featuring everything from memories of Christmases past to a taste of the best delicacies Sampson has to offer today, there will be a little something for everyone this Thursday night.
The Clinton Main Street Program in partnership with the Sampson County History Museum, Sampson Arts Council, Clinton Kiwanis, Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce, as well as sponsors and event volunteers, are currently making final preparations for the Christmas in the City, which to be held from 5:30 to 9 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 3, in downtown Clinton.
“This year’s event brings a new partnership with the Clinton Kiwanis and their Kiwanis Secret Christmas Shop, as well as Snowzilla, a giant inflatable snow mountain. We are also partnering with Cowboy’s BBQ, Piggly Wiggly, Ribeyes, and Southern Smoke BBQ to provide a unique dinner opportunity at the Clinton City Market,” said Mary Rose, Clinton-Sampson Planning director and Clinton Main Street manager.
The event’s full slate of activities officially kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with the Clinton Community Christmas Tree Lighting at the tree park behind the Clinton City Market with Mayor Lew Starling. Entertainment will be provided by the Performing Arts School and Miss North Carolina Kate Peacock and Miss N.C. Outstanding Teen Kenzie Hansley will be on hand.
New to the event, from 5:30 to 8 p.m., some of the best food in Sampson County will come to the heart of Clinton as part of “Taste of Christmas at the Market.”
“I can’t wait to taste the ‘Farm to Table’ menu at the ‘Taste of Christmas at the Market’ event, provided by some of our favorite local restaurants and caterers, while waiting for my carriage ride past the decorated homes and the lighted pond off West Main Street,” Debbie Roberts, of the Main Street Program’s Design Committee stated.
Hubb’s Corn Maze, Clinton Truck and Tractor and Phil Hudson are back again this year to sponsor the carriage and hayrides from the Clinton City Market. Hayrides cost $3 per person and carriage seats are $15 per person. All proceeds from the rides will be donated to the Sampson County History Museum.
To inquire about tickets for “A Taste of Christmas at the Market” or carriage rides, contact Betty Holland at 910-299-4904.
From 6 to 8 p.m., a new partnership with the Clinton Kiwanis Club will be held at the courthouse, open as part of another first thanks to a continuing county partnership.
“The Kiwanis Club of Clinton is so excited to be participating in Christmas in the City this year. We will be hosting our first annual Kiwanis Secret Christmas Shop, where kids shop for grownups in the Sampson County Courthouse,” Wendy Carr, president of Clinton Kiwanis Club.
Adults will bring their kids to the door at the west end of the courthouse which faces Sessoms Jewelry, and a Kiwanis member will escort the child into the Secret Christmas Shop. Santa’s CHS Key Club Elves will help them choose a gift for their grown up ranging from $2-$10. The gift will then be wrapped and ready to be placed under the Christmas tree.
“Kiwanis knew kids would love the idea of purchasing a gift to give that is a secret, something someone else in their family has not helped them purchase,” said Carr, whose group set out to offer something special for the children. “Kiwanis Secret Christmas Shop is just one way of providing just that and we hope that it will add an element of excitement when their secret gifts are opened.”
Further down Lisbon Street, the History Museum will also be very much in the spirit.
“On behalf of the Sampson County History Museum Board of Directors, we are delighted to be a part of Christmas in the City,” said Kay Raynor, president of the History Museum. “We encourage you to stop by and explore Sampson County’s rich heritage and history. This year we bring you ‘Christmas Memories at the Museum’ as you stroll through lighted luminaries and handcrafted Christmas decor by the Clinton Garden Club.”
Chris Woodson, director of the History Museum, said Christmas Memories “will feature special displays in several of our exhibits, including holiday preparations in our kitchen, an antique toy exhibit in the country store and a Victorian-themed Christmas in the Holmes House.”
Along with new and revitalized events, there will be plenty of old favorites.
The Gingerbread decorating activity is back again this year and will be located at the Sampson County Republican Headquarters on Wall Street beside Sessoms Jewelry. All ages are invited to decorate gingerbread cookies at the free event sponsored by the Sampson Arts Council, which is also offering a Gingerbread House Contest for a chance to win cash prizes.
Again this year, Sampson Community Theatre volunteers Angela Martin and Dan Holland are bringing strolling carolers and the chorus students from Hobbton High School for an encore performance. The courthouse square entertainment has been coordinated by Wayne Edwards and promises beauty and talent on the Main Street stage.
A decorating contest sponsored by the Main Street Program’s Design Committee will award the best of participating businesses and residences along the carriage and hayride routes meandering through downtown and adjoining residential neighborhoods. Judging is done on Wednesday, Dec. 2. First place takes $100, second $75 and third $50.
In addition to the new Downtown Clinton Loyalty Cards, which offer discounts from downtown businesses, the Clinton Main Street Program Promotion Committee will be selling commemorative Christmas ornaments, cookbooks and “Milling Around Downtown Clinton” T-shirts.
Santa will also be at his house on the courthouse square to hear Christmas wish lists.
“Christmas is a special holiday in Downtown Clinton and with so many new businesses we encourage citizens to visit downtown for their Christmas shopping this year,” Rose stated. “The Christmas in the City event will provide families a perfect opportunity to mill around Downtown Clinton and see all the beautiful Christmas lights and decorations in your favorite stores and businesses.”
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.