Raleigh, N.C. — Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker threw the switch to light up Fayetteville Street for Christmas on Friday evening.
More than 25,000 twinklers were strewn along the east side of the 100 block of Fayetteville Street. At least 500 bulbs glowed in the 64 trees along the street.
Victorian carolers and free horse-drawn carriage rides provided entertainment. The lighting was sponsored by the Downtown Raleigh Alliance.
This was be the second lighting since Fayetteville Street was reopened to traffic in July 2006. From 1977, the street's 100 to 400 blocks served as a pedestrian mall. City planners hoped reopening of the street would attract new retail, restaurants and residents to downtown.
Celebrations along Fayetteville Street will continue with the Countdown to First Night on New Year's Eve. For 30 consecutive nights at 5 p.m., a banner will be unveiled on the Alexander Square parking deck.
The banners depict ways in which Raleigh residents celebrate the holidays and were created by local students, professional artists and community organizations.