The 33rd annual Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries kicked off with College night, and students and citizens of Jackson County came out to support the event.
WCU and Dillsboro merchants partnered up to pull off this event. The director of the Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries is David R. Marker, owner of Monkey Toes, and according to him, his primary job was making sure everything looked and went perfectly for Friday night’s festivities.
“The Lights and Luminaries has always been a gift to the community for them supporting us,” said Marker.
WCU’s Inspirational Gospel Choir sang holiday songs and a WCU student from the dance program performed the Nutcracker. The merchants of Dillsboro also featured the most famous attraction – the horse and carriage rides. Dillsboro businesses offered up to 10 percent discounts on all purchases for students, faculty and staff at WCU and Southwestern Community College. They were able to enter a drawing for a basket of merchandise and gift certificates donated by the merchants.
Students and citizens from all over Jackson County came out for College Night, and everyone seemed to have a great time. The big attractions for most of the people who came out were the lights and carriage rides provided for them.
“This is my first time coming to the event and I really enjoyed seeing all the lights and my favorite part of this event has to be the carriage rides,” said Katelin Pelkey, a junior at Smokey Mountain High School.
Jill Garrison, a junior at WCU, was enjoying the festival, but the lights are the main reason why she came to Dillsboro. Caleb Cannon, a SCC student, also commented on how beautiful the town looked with all the lights, but felt that they should add more colorful lights.
College Night at the Dillsboro Lights and Luminaries had a great turn out, which is vital to the local business. Joao Lucinano, a marketing student at WCU, believes that events like these are important to small towns. A store owner during this event expressed just that.
“The amount of business we get through this event is substantial,” said Bob Williams, owner of the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory. “Luminaries is really important to us and it pays the bills in January.”
The festival runs from 5 to 9 p.m. December 2, 3, 9 and 10.