What's on Tap

What's on Tap

WRAL tower lights holiday way for 55th season

Posted December 1, 2014
Updated March 31, 2016

— The holiday season got a bit brighter on Monday, Dec. 1, when WRAL lit the 300-foot Western Boulevard broadcast tower for the 55th time.

The tradition started in 1959 with Capitol Broadcasting Co. founder A.J. Fletcher reading "A Christmas Carol" on the air.

In 1997, WRAL built a new tower and added the 2,800 lights that have served as a glowing Christmas tree for downtown Raleigh ever since.

Over the years, the tower lighting has become a tradition as it has gradually expanded to include music, guests, manufactured snow and a flyover by Sky 5.

Each year brings special guests, from tuba-toting WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel to Scrooge himself.

This year, Jackie Hyland and Gerald Owens welcomed the 50-voice NC State Chorale to the WRAL Studios while Debra Morgan counted down to the tower lighting with some very special guests from the North Carolina Ballet.

Although Monday's weather was relatively warm and clear, Southern Snowman delivered a wintry wonderland in the WRAL courtyard to set the stage for the tower lighting.

The tower will stay lit until New Year's Day.

Holiday lights abound

As Christmas approaches, homes and businesses around the Triangle light the night with unique displays, musical choreography, inflatables and decorations that range from the sincerely religious to the downright silly.

Holy Christmas Inflatables in Clayton

We've mapped the best to start your tour of holiday lights.

Or see them all without starting the car, and be sure to share your photos!

Durham to light Lucky Strike Tower

In downtown Durham, the American Tobacco Historic District will ring in the holiday season with the 10th annual lighting of the Lucky Strike Tower on Dec. 5.

Diamond View Park outside the Durham Performing Arts Center will also be lined with decorated Christmas trees from competitors in the third annual Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge. Each tree represents an area non-profit organization. Visitors can vote for their favorite via text message. Winners earn donations of $1,000 to $5,000.


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  • jmoxley2010 Dec 2, 2014

    Slow news day when this is still one of the top stories, you would think after 55 years no one would care

  • PanthersFan45 Dec 2, 2014

    I'm not a bah-humbug guy but this news just doesn't do much to excite me. I'll light my own tree and keep things festive within my home. The fake snow yesterday was ridiculous ..... some things are just a hard sell. Raleigh just isn't "White Christmas" territory. Hey you do what you can.

  • Chris Perry Dec 2, 2014
    user avatar

    How does the use of this electricity effect climate change?

    Liberals cannot effect climate change. That is why it is ok for them to drive big SUVs or fly around the world in private jets.

  • Itsmyopinion67 Dec 2, 2014

    How does the use of this electricity effect climate change?