Durham, N.C. — Durham was aglow with the Christmas spirit Friday night after the annual lighting of the Lucky Strike Tower at the American Tobacco Campus. The evening-long celebration included carols, a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus and even a cooking demonstration by Chef Chris Harris from the Fork and Barrel restaurant in North Raleigh.
For the hundreds who turned out, it was a reminder of why they love living in the Bull City.
"It's a great time. We enjoy any kind of family holiday get-together like this," said Mike Schoof.
"Durham is growing, and it's exciting how the community comes together to fellowship and enjoy the evening," said Mark Moore.
Across the street, dozens of decorated trees, entrants in the Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge, lined a path to the Durham Performing Arts Center. Each is a representation of the vision of an individual Triangle non-profit organization. Members of the public can vote through Dec. 20, via text and online, for their favorites. The winning organizations will earn thousands to support their mission.
Jen Chapel had already picked her favorites Friday. "I like the 'Girls on the Run,'" she said. "I like the Carolina Tiger Preserve."
TROSA set up a lot to sell Christmas trees, wreaths and garland.
"We live just up the street and it's nice to have somewhere to walk to. The kids had a great time," said Jill Moffett.
It was Neysa Heyward's first tower lighting and she cited the singing as a highlight. "Especially that angel from the Raleigh Ministries – gorgeous," she said.