More than 50 people turned out Saturday to see a giant Christmas tree light up the downtown area of Pembroke as part of the 27th annual Pembroke Christmas Tree lighting.
Attendees enjoyed Christmas and inspirational music by The Holcombes, a local singing group, as children visited with special guests, Santa and Mrs. Claus. A nighttime farmers market was also a part of the fun.
Tami Jo Hill was at the event with her grandchildren. She said her favorite part was watching the children talk with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
“It’s cool they have music and everything is just awesome,” Hill said.
Around 10 vendors participated in the final nighttime farmers market of the season, including Pearl’s Peace, a group for girls of Pembroke headed up by Zambia Geiger.
Geiger was selling cupcakes, cookies and other sweets to raise money for her organization’s Christmas project, in which the girls group provides gifts for two less fortunate children.
The Christmas tree and other downtown decorations will be on display through the new year.
Though the turnout was light for the tree lighting ceremony, festival and parade committee member Barbara DuBose said the city’s Christmas Festival should draw a big crowd Saturday for the 28th annual event.
More than 60 arts and crafts, food vendors and more will be at the festival, which opens at 9 a.m. The parade begins around 11 a.m. and will travel down Hwy. 280 featuring about 60 participants, including marching bands, horses, vintage cars and tractors, Santa and more, DuBose said.
This year’s parade is led by grand marshals Bob and Debbie Floyd, who said they are very thankful and appreciative they were chosen.
“I have hardly, maybe even never, been taken by more surprise,” Debbie Floyd said. “We have been out of pocket a lot this year and it is a blessing to know that people still thought of us.”
“We are just too honored – of all the people they could have picked, I just can’t imagine,” Bob Floyd added.
Debbie Floyd said they are looking forward to the great weather Saturday and just an all-around fun event.
“It’s something we’ll just go and take the kids and enjoy,” she said. “Sometimes those things are few and far between.”
DuBose said the Floyds were chosen because of their active participation in the community.
“They participate in community activities we have and also in the charitable organizations,” DuBose said. “They’re a big part of this community, and there are a lot of things they do for folks.”
DuBose added that the committee is excited for folks to come out and enjoy the event and to let the market vendors and parade participants know they’re appreciated.