Manteo Tree Lighting Fills the Outer Banks Sky
By Kip Tabb –
There is something so unique, so wonderful, so heartwarming about the annual Manteo Christmas tree lighting that it becomes the type of event that gets a big circle around the date on the calendar.
It all takes place on the steps of the old Courthouse, which is about as picturesque a setting as possible. There’s live music, the singers ranging in age to seven or eight to 75 or 80. There are traditional songs, there are modern songs, some spirituals and its all done surprisingly well.
There is also some dancing, again with ages ranging from young to significantly older. The kids keep their feet moving and have lots of fun and the older dancers–well, they’re energetic even if their feet aren’t quite up to a quick step anymore.
And, of course, there is that “fat jolly old elf” himself, this year making his appearance from the balcony of the Courthouse. New this year, because the Dare County Arts Council just completed their renovation of the second floor where court was once held, the space is now available for use, and Santa took full advantage of it. Kids and their parents were lined up from the bottom of the stairs all the way to the Court of Santa.
For everyone too old or too big to sit on Santa’s lap, the tree lighting is a magnificent spectacle. Sitting in back of the downtown parking lot, right on the waterfront, when the lights turn on on that 40’ evergreen, there is a moment when the dark of night is truly being held back by the light of hope.
Next year’s tree lighting is December 5. Put it on your schedule now.