Thanks For A Fabulous Festival Of Lights

Dear Editor,

This is a huge shout-out of gratitude to the City of Greensboro for a fabulous Festival of Lights on Friday, Dec. 3.  They treated locals to a great kickoff of the Christmas season.

I happily wandered unmasked through downtown, starting with Le Bauer Park’s special tour of trees decorated by various non-profits, and perused local artisans’ booths for Christmas gifts. I followed the sounds of great jazz music and found Wally West and the Wassailers playing to a crowd while a girl on stilts agilely moved to the tunes.

The tree in Center City Park wasn’t lit yet, so after I received my free red foam antlers from Allegacy, I took my time moseying down Elm Street to see businesses, musicians and performance artists giving the passersby either a treat, a song or a laugh. The city provided several spots for families to take memorable photos along the way. The most unusual attraction was the Santa Sumo setup where two participants dressed up in extra beefy Santa suits a la a sumo wrestling gimmick.  Countless musicians, young and old, group and solo, some in Victorian costumes, performed mostly Christmas songs in the balmy weather that night. Some outside restaurant diners had front row seats for several acts. It was magical.

When I arrived at Hamburger Square, I marveled at the “snow” falling softly from the sky while an amazing laser show beamed and bounced off buildings and trees. A bandstand was set up with a band playing jazzy tunes.  Next, I was stopped by some friendly elves giving out large wooden dowels with gigantic marshmallows, which would have been roasted had it not been so dry and therefore a fire hazard. 

At the end of the route, a DJ on a huge stage played some funky music and was gearing up for free karaoke! Turning down Lewis Street I made a visit to Peppermint Alley to find more photo op props.

Winding my way past the ice rink and Fat Tuesdays, I was back on Elm Street when, what to my wondering eyes did appear? A cute team of small dogs with bells on, literally lots of bells on!  I looked up and it then became obvious the park’s beautiful tree had been lit and carols sung because a massive crowd of festive locals wearing antlers, light up necklaces, and Santa hats descended en masse heading south on Elm.

There was still a big crowd lingering at the parks when I returned to see very long lines at the Le Bauer restaurants. Kids were joyous eating funnel cakes, candy apples and kettle corn. The park maintenance workers were even smiling and jolly. Music continued to be played as I entered the Cultural Arts Center. Music and arts abounded inside as usual and it was a lovely ending to a perfectly festive Festival of Lights.

Lynn Henson