Residents rally for 29th annual Fraser Fir lighting

Published 8:33 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2017

With the flip of a switch, the holiday season officially got underway in Elizabethton.

Hundreds gathered outside the UT – Extension office on East Elk Avenue Tuesday evening for the 29th annual lighting of the Fraser Fir, a historic icon readily remembered by community members.

Sponsored by the Elizabethton/Carter County Chamber of Commerce, Tuesday’s ceremony was capped off by the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library serving as the honorary lighters for the tree.

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“The public library is such an asset to our community,” Tonya Stevens, Chamber of Commerce executive director, told the Elizabethton Star. “There are many programs they facilitate every day to help the youngest to the oldest in Elizabethton and Carter County.”

Chris Hitechew, president of the Chamber of Commerce and master of ceremonies, sung the praises of the staff at the library, highlighting their different deeds and projects, as staff joined underneath the tree to flip and bring in a new era to downtown Elizabethton.

Tuesday’s lighting served as the cherry atop the Christmas sundae scattered throughout downtown Elizabethton with Twin City Decorating handling the placement of light fixtures early in the day.

Each lighting ceremony also allows community members to learn more about the the largest fraser fir in the state.

Nestled right outside the Henderson Folsom house, Hitechew provided attendees with a quick overview about the largest decorated Christmas tree in the country. Folsom served in the Civil War, which attendees were able to receive a glimpse into thanks to reenactors from Sycamore Shoals State Park and the Washington County Regiment of the North Carolina Militia.

Friends of Sycamore Shoals provided hot apple cider during the night with militia members capped off the night with a rifle salute.

Carter County’s future generation also took part in the ceremony. Elizabethton High School Chorale members, led by Debbie Gouge, brought the Christmas spirit with different performances of Christmas carols. Students were joined by Miss Carter County Peyton Wilson.

Happy Valley High School trumpeteers also helped kick off the event with the playing of the national anthem.

Residents looking to get involved with another local Christmas tradition are invited to visit Roan Mountain on Monday, Nov. 20, for at Roan Mountain Community Park for the lighting of the community tree.