Smithfield, N.C. — What does Christmas look like in small-town America? Smithfield hopes to offer a taste Thursday night with a downtown celebration and tree lighting.
In addition to a visit from Santa, dance performances and carols sung by local church and civic groups, the event is highlighted by contest with giveaways designed to keep Smithfield shoppers local this holiday season.
About 20 downtown merchants – from Jewel's Formals to DNA Bail Bonds – have decorated their display windows to get in the holiday spirit. This purely volunteer effort includes decorated trees, boughs and wreaths and even windows painted with Bible verses.
Visitors Thursday can cast a ballot for the one they like best to earn a chance at the prizes. And that's where it really gets tasty.
Ten voters will be drawn, at random, to participate in a cake dive for prizes. For the uninitiated, a cake drive requires the participant to eat the cake, no hands, to discover a prize baked inside. Each of 10 cakes will have a holiday decoration, and each represents a prize of gift certificates. The grand prize is worth a total of more than $500.
"It's all in the spirit of competition and to draw attention to downtown," said Chris Johnson, executive director of Downtown Smithfield Development Corporation. "I'm really excited about the cake dive.
The town will also collect food and toys for the less fortunate during Thursday's festivities. The fun begins at 6:30 p.m. on the square, at the corner of 3rd and Market streets.