Local News

Lucky Strike Tower lighting kicked off Durham holiday events

Posted December 5, 2008 4:01 p.m. EST
Updated December 5, 2008 11:40 p.m. EST

— Thousands of feet of holiday garland and lights blanketed the American Tobacco Campus on Friday when the 134-year-old Lucky Strike Tower was lit.

The Big Light Switch was thrown for the fourth annual lighting of the Lucky Strike Tower just after 7:30 p.m. Friday. Artificial snow fell from the sky as part of the choreographed pageantry.

Organizers from Light Up Durham said they aim to make the tower lighting a family tradition in Durham, just like the famous tree lightings in New York and Washington, D.C.

Hundreds of poinsettias and seasonal planters will blanket the 250,000-square-foot campus. The event was free, and the first 500 people to arrive received holiday light sticks.

“It’s magic and it really is about family and friends,” Marion Youngblood, executive director of Light Up Durham, said.

Highlights also included live performances by hand bells and choir chimes from Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Church and Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church, choral groups from W.G. Pearson GT Magnet Elementary School, Little River Elementary School, Riverside High School and a special brass ensemble from Durham School of the Arts.

WRAL's news personality Ken Smith hosted the event.

The celebration continues into Saturday, with free performances by 50 groups in five venues in downtown Durham. The performances surround Durham's parade.

Click here for a full list of performances and a map of the venues.

“It’s going to be fantastic,” Youngblood said.

The Lucky Strike Tower Lighting will benefit from the expertise gained in the lighting of the WRAL-TV tower on Western Boulevard in Raleigh. Capitol Broadcasting, Inc., parent company of WRAL and American Tobacco Campus, has been lighting the TV tower for over 50 years.