What's on Tap

What's on Tap

WRAL to light tower for holidays on Dec. 1

Posted November 16, 2014
Updated December 1, 2014

— The holiday season gets a bit brighter on Monday, Dec. 1, when WRAL lights its 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 will visit with the 50-voice NC State Chorale in the WRAL Studios while Debra Morgan counts down to the tower lighting with some very special guests.

Although Monday's weather is expected to be relatively warm and clear, Southern Snowman will again provide the wintry wonderland in the WRAL courtyard to set the stage for the tower lighting.

Each year before we throw the switch, maintenance workers test and tighten every single bulb.

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

American Tobacco Campus will hold its annual celebration for the lighting of the Lucky Strike Tower on Friday, Dec. 5, starting at 6 p.m.


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  • iopsyc Dec 1, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Yes, like Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa.

  • A cold, hard dose of Hans Dec 1, 2014

    This is a complete waste of electricity.

  • dwntwnboy2 Dec 1, 2014

    They said earlier they would light at 6:15

  • Itsmyopinion67 Dec 1, 2014

    How does this use of electricity effect climate change?

  • glarg Dec 1, 2014


  • myfatherandme2003 Dec 1, 2014

    i think i can FINALLY go to the tower lighting this year after being in the area since 1974!! What time??

  • slugolicious Nov 30, 2014

    So this is open to the public? A time wasn't mentioned.

    Is this on the corner of Western and Avent Ferry? So you should park at mission valley? Or is it too crowded to park there?

  • dwntwnboy2 Nov 17, 2014

    Fun event. We've made it a social event for our friends and neighbors. Get together, have a drink and snacks, then go over for the tower lighting then out to dinner- crowd seems to get bigger each year.....depending on weather of course.