Record early? Christmas lights began November 2

news-bowlinginstallssnowflakexmaslightsAbout 15 feet above Ridge-McIntire Road, Randall Bowling eyes his Wednesday-morning handiwork.

Just two days after Halloween, three and a half weeks before Thanksgiving (not to mention seven and a half weeks before Christmas), City crews began installing holiday lights downtown on Monday, November 2–- in what may be a new record for early decorating.

The lights, installed singly and in pairs on poles, are stylized snow flakes, illuminated by LEDs.

City spokesperson Ric Barrick says the lights are owned by the private Downtown Business Association, which added 16 flakes to its retinue this year and which coordinates timing of the hanging with the City's Parks department.

[caption id="attachment_22597" align="alignleft" width="140" caption="The lights are on, as this November 3 view of the Market Street Parking Deck indicates."]news-christmaslightsmarketstreet-nov3[/caption]

"We want to spread the Christmas joy," says Association director Bob Stroh. "We still have work to do."

Stroh notes that the Association decided to hold the annual Grand Illumination ceremony prior to Thanksgiving for the second time this year, so that could account for the early-birdness of it all, but he's not certain it's a record.

"It's about the same time as we did them last year," says Stroh, whose group took over downtown decorating two years ago with the aid of a public-private grant consisting of $9,465 of Association funding and triple that amount from the City.

The Grand Illumination, which includes music and a candlelit caroling, will take place on Friday, November 20. The free event runs 5-7:30pm (with the actual tree-lighting around 6:00 to 6:15) at Central Place on the Downtown Mall.

–updated 4:54pm with additional photo as well as info from Bob Stroh in lieu of earlier theorizing by City spokesperson


You all fight like girls.

Love the Christmas light! I feel badly for those who demonstrate such animosity toward people of faith. God bless all of you, and Merry Christmas to all!

Christmas is just another one of those religious holidays for weak minded individuals.

I hope you all enjoy Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

All hail the darkness.

In any event, lights are good. Less shootings and stabbings always help business.

Bob, one of my neighbors has kept red and white lights up in several trees in his back yard all year. It's actually right attractive.

Ahhh, this isn't too early. Plus, the crews that put these decorations have to put them up when they have the opportunity. It will all be over before you know it. Enjoy it!

Merry Christmas!

Awesome that this ended up being an article on your site. I had the same thoughts of astonishment when I saw the lights last night. Too early!! It has nothing to do with faith and it preposterous and presumptuous for some readers to take it that far. It's about natural cycles based primarily on physics, not faith.

What is a holiday if it is celebrated all year long ? Bring back special days and cut the commercialism.

God forbid the downtown area should be unprepared for the holiday (read: Christmas) rush. Clearly, making sure that everyone knows it is almost a month away from Christmas is way more important than thinking of better ways to spend your money in this economy (for instance, maybe making a nice donation to PACEM or one of the many other non-profits that are trying their best to help the less fortunate get through another winter, or to give needy families a great holiday of their own).

Ahh, capitalism.

Absolutely ridiculous!! Let's enjoy the season of FALL!

Can we say a waste of fossil fuels and other energy sources...not to mention unecessary light pollution. Is this a ploy to get the shoppers out and about?

Saw the first Xmas TV commercial on Sunday, courtesy of Wal*Mart. Ugh.

The Corner had lights up in the trees this past weekend.

Maybe downtrow is trying to keep up with the UVA area.

Hey Patsy, get over it!

I think I will park my company car for the rest of the week and drive my 8 mpg gas guzzler this week.... just for you! :)

I think its great they're going up already. Merry Christmas everyone!

Hanging them up and turning them on are two different things; the article doesn't address this. Getting an early start on hanging them up is a good move.

Love it! Merry Christmas!