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Holiday season officially begins in Johnson City

Hannah Swayze • Updated Dec 1, 2017 at 9:36 PM

It is officially Christmas season in Johnson City. Mayor David Tomita declared it to be so Friday night at Johnson City's annual Christmas Tree lighting.

The 30-foot tall tree stands right in the middle of the downtown area in the plaza on Buffalo Street. What was once a plain tree is now lit up with bright, colorful Christmas lights.

The crowd was put in the Christmas spirit by cake and hot drinks from local business, Cakebuds and Our Savior Lutheran Church while listening to upbeat Christmas carols sung by the young voices of the Indian Trail Intermediate School choir.

As part of the event, Tomita, from the back of a parade float, read an official mayoral proclamation declaring the holiday season officially underway. The statement also declared the theme of the holiday festivities as "A Storybook Christmas."

After reading the proclamation, Tomita also urged the crowd to remember to shop small when buying gifts for the holiday season, referring to all of the shops only a few feet from the massive crowd.

"Not only do you help your city, but you help your neighbors," Tomita said.

And with that, the enthusiastic crowd counted down from 10 until the lights lit up the tree, officially welcoming the holidays.

The festivities of the night continued after the lighting with Music and S'mores on Main Street.

Now filled with the Christmas spirit, the crowd slowly moved from the tree to Main Street, which was closed down for the night and opened up for the pedestrians. Children of all ages roasted marshmallows and assembled smores under the full moon and browsed the shops that were still open downtown.

While the night may be over, the fun has only begun. Christmas festivities will continue all weekend in downtown.

The Johnson Christmas Christmas Parade will begin at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at lot No. 9 on the East Tennessee State University campus at the corner of University Parkway and West State of Franklin Road. For a map of the parade's route, visit jcchristmasparade.org. This year's theme is "A Storybook Christmas."

The Holiday Splash: Fine Art and Craft Showcase Market will reopen in the ballroom of Hands On! Regional Museum at 309 E. Main St., Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 3, from noon to 5 p.m.

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