Holiday cheer at Friday event

Published 9:55 pm Monday, November 18, 2019

Suffolk will flip the switch and start shining for the holiday season at the Grand Illumination Ceremony Friday night at Market Park in downtown Suffolk.

Market Park will open for the festivities at 6 p.m. The 32-foot-tall Christmas tree will be lit at 6:15 p.m., with remarks from Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson and city spokeswoman Diana Klink. Festivities will end at 8:30 p.m.

Santa himself will arrive in style on a horse-drawn carriage around 6:20 p.m. Parents will be able to take pictures when their children meet Saint Nick in the Suffolk Seaboard Station Railroad Museum.

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According to Chelsea Price, special events coordinator for Suffolk Parks and Recreation, attendees will receive golden tickets to meet Santa with their group names, like “candy cane” and “snowflake.” Attendees will then line up to meet Santa when their group name is called.

There will be a DJ playing music at the event, and the Suffolk Center Children’s Choir will sing Christmas carols. Vendors will offer holiday-themed items while C’s Candy Apples & Sweet Treats will have treats for sale.

The Pourfavor coffee shop across the street will have hot chocolate, apple cider and coffee at its table next to the horse-drawn carriage rides, which will be organized in front of the public parking lot near Pourfavor. The carriage rides will be free and take riders along Prentis Street, from North Main Street to Pine Street.

Heated tents at Market Park will have a “Night Before Christmas” puppet show performed by Mickey Rooney and the Rainbow Puppets, and Christmas ornament crafting for all ages provided by the Suffolk Art Gallery.

Parking will be available at the Visitor Center at 524 N. Main St. An ADA-accessible shuttle service will run from the Godwin Courts building parking lot and First Baptist Church parking lot on Main Street, from 5:45 to 8:30 p.m.

For more information, contact Price at 514-7267 or