Some children, and adults, could barely contain their excitement as Santa Claus arrived to Light Up Elkin Friday night.
“Lights, lights, lights, lights, lights,” exclaimed 4-year-old Emma Jones between twirls in her tutu and describing the letter she decorated for Santa, who was expected at any moment.
“I had a lot of Care Bear stickers on it and then I put stamps on it and then I put sticker stickers all over it,” because apparently regular stickers were just not good enough for the generous man in the red suit.
“This is wonderful. It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Emma’s mother, Jamie. “We actually came last year and had a great time and so we were very excited when we heard they were doing it again.”
A ranger at Stone Mountain State Park, Emma’s father, Jeff, wasn’t concerned about the dark drive at the end of the night because this year is all about Emma for their family.
“I think with her she’s finally starting to really get excited about it,” said Jamie. “That’s a really big thing.”
It was a really big thing for some of those in Elkin to be able to have the event at the linear park at the historic rock façade.
“Look at this beautiful community park,” said Jennifer White, Light Up Elkin chair and president of the Main Street Advisory Board. “Not too long ago this beautiful granite façade was in jeopardy of deteriorating and even being demolished, but now look at it.”
The Rock Façade Park was not the only accomplishment for Elkin.
“The downtown outdoor WiFi project was finally completed with all the downtown signals now installed made possible by grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission,” said White, as well as the electric car charging stations due to a grant from Duke Energy.
“This past year has been an exciting year in downtown Elkin,” said Mayor Sam Bishop, noting changes that included 11 new or expanded businesses and four historic buildings that have been purchased. “Fiddle’s Pub and Southern on Main have brought live music back to downtown Elkin and additionally Wanderlust Art Studio has live music. A lot of exciting things happening here.”
Bishop also assured the crowd that The Reeves Theater will be open before Christmas.
“They’re going to have some great events over the Christmas holidays and also on New Year’s Eve,” he said.
Part of the motivation behind the excitement has been the Explore Elkin initiative, according to Bishop.
“In January, I appointed a special committee to make Elkin a weekend destination and downtown arts and entertainment hub. Through the efforts of Commissioner Jeff Eidson and Explore Elkin, it is happening,” said Bishop.
“We’ve gone from a manufacturing base to a hospitality base, and that’s what we’re going to be doing here in Elkin, and it’s folks like you who are making it happen.”
It’s also events like Light Up Elkin, which changed from a one-night event to extend throughout the weekend, as well as the town.
In addition to photos with Santa and hot cider from the Yadkin Valley Community School at the Rock Façade Park, the town of Elkin Parks and Recreation sponsored a kids zone where children could test such sporting skills as throwing a football, playing tennis and scoring soccer goals.
At the far end of Main Street, local dance studios joined together for a performance where they shared Coley Hall at The Liberty with the Foothills Holiday Craft and Gift Market, which, like the vendors at the Farmers Market, continued throughout the weekend.
“Light Up Night is a time for our community to celebrate the start of the holiday season together in downtown Elkin,” said White, who at the end of the successful evening, like many who make Christmas for others, glowed with a relief brighter than the Christmas Tree lights.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TBeanieTaylor.