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Festive night, bright lights downtown

Downtown Suffolk will light up on Friday night when the Suffolk Grand Illumination Ceremony officially kicks off the holiday season.

The annual event will be held in Market Park at the Seaboard Station Railroad Museum, 326 N. Main St. The park will open for visitors at 6 p.m.

Visitors will want to get there on time to hear a sample of the winter show by the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts children’s choir, an address by Mayor Linda T. Johnson and the lighting of the 32-foot Christmas tree.

“It’s an incredible illumination,” said Emily Upton, special events coordinator for Suffolk Parks and Recreation. “It lights up the city for the official kickoff to the holiday season.”

After the opening ceremony, families will get their tickets with group numbers that will be called for their children to see Santa Claus. But there will be plenty of activities as they wait.

They can enjoy a puppet show of “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” and tasty treats from local vendors like the Pourfavor coffee shop on North Main Street. There will also be horse and carriage rides featuring Santa’s elves.

“It’s a great, family-friendly event, because there’s a little bit of something for everybody,” Upton said.

All activities will be open until 8 p.m. Parking will be available at the Suffolk Visitor Center at 524 N. Main St., and there will be a free shuttle service that will run from the Godwin Courts and First Baptist Church Main Street parking lots from 5:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Go to visitsuffolkva.com or call 514-7267 for more information.