Christmas Comes to Monroe
People from all over Union County filled the streets of downtown Monroe Saturday for the city's annual Tree Lighting and other festivities Saturday.
Christmas in Downtown Monroe activities began with the arrival of Santa at 6 p.m. and featured a Tree Lighting at 7 p.m. accompanied by snow that sprinkled down on the crowd as the lights decorating the large Christmas Tree in the downtown area glowed.
Throughout the event, those interested could enjoy carriage and trolley rides, live music, food from local vendors and other activities. The event also featured an opportunity for attendees to shake hands with Rudolph and Frosty, listen to strolling carolers and visit the Christmas Petting Zoo. Downtown businesses were open during the event and many offered special promotions and discounts to customers throughout the celebration. Monroe's Parks and Recreation Department and Downtown Monroe Department sponsored the event.
"It's better, I think it's more people and more booths," Shanetta Spivey of Monroe, who attended the event with her family Saturday, said.
She attended the event last year and felt there were a lot more people and activities this year, she said.
Bill Price attended the event for the first time with his wife, daughter and granddaughters Saturday.
He enjoyed the event as well as the hot chocolate offered during it, Price said.
Others in his family said they liked the singing as well as the funnel cakes offered.
"It seems like a very good turn out, things are good," Monroe Police Chief Debra Duncan said.
The weather at this year's event seemed a lot better than last year, which may have helped with bringing more people out to attend, she said.
Mayor Bobby Kilgore of Monroe thanked city employees and workers for setting up the Christmas Tree in downtown Monroe and getting it ready before starting a 10-second count down and flipping the switch to light it, which also started snow falling through the sky and down onto the crowd below in front of the tree.
"I really think we have a larger crowd," Kilgore said in reference to attendance at this year's event when compared to last year.
Though he wasn't certain how many people attended Saturday, it appeared to be more than the previous year and he was happy with the turnout. He hoped attendees enjoyed the event and that the turnout of people was helpful for the downtown businesses, he said.