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Pulaski getting a little brighter with Christmas kickoff Thursday

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

Downtown Pulaski will be glowing a little brighter Thursday evening as the town hosts its annual Christmas tree lighting celebration, followed by Pulaski County Jaycees’ Christmas Parade.

The large evergreen tree on the corner of First Street and Washington Avenue, which typically serves as the town’s Christmas tree, as well as other park trees, will once again brighten Jackson Park. Justin Sanders, Pulaski’s planner, says even though the park full of lights will not be the surprise it was to citizens last year, it still will serve to brighten the holiday season.

The illuminated park was so popular last year that this year’s event is being called the “Jackson Park Illumination.” The evening promises to be cold, with temperatures around freezing, so don’t forget to bundle up.

Jackson Park Illumination gets underway at 4 p.m. with a new Holiday Market set up in the park, Sanders said. Nonprofit agencies and vendors offering a variety of gift possibilities such as candles, jewelry, crafts, and baked goods will be on hand.

Of course, the minds of children will be on an opportunity to tell Santa what they want for Christmas. The Jolly Ole Elf himself is arriving at 5 p.m. to visit with children of all ages. Santa will be in the park gazebo, so don’t forget to stop by.

Other activities beginning at 5 include cookie decorating, a special craft and marshmallow roasting around a campfire.

Pulaski Middle School Choir, Pulaski County High School Golden Cougar Marching Band, YMCA singers and New River Regional Theatre are providing this year’s performances.

Finally, lights on the trees will be illuminated at 6:30.

Pulaski County Jaycees are kicking off their annual parade at 7 p.m. Organizer Lin Martin said about 45 entries have signed up to participate this year. The theme is “Let It Be Christmas” and grand marshal is Robin Burdette of Blue Ridge Fudge Lady in downtown Pulaski.

Martin said entry calls are still being received. Anyone wishing to participate has until 5 p.m. Wednesday to contact her at 577-1197.

Many churches, organizations and businesses that have participated in prior years are once again signed up. However, Martin said some new entries are joining the lineup this year, including a float being entered by Pulaski County School System and a food truck from Virginia Tech. Kazem Shriners, the PCHS band and other staples are returning.

The parade is held regardless of weather unless county schools should close early Thursday. The only snow in the forecast at present is slated for this weekend. However, should there be a surprise, the snow date is Dec. 13.

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