The Center for Rural Development will celebrate the arrival of the Christmas season on Monday, Nov. 29, with its annual Spirit of Giving community tree-lighting ceremony featuring holiday music by the Bell Tones children’s choir followed by a Children’s Prime Time Theatre holiday performance of “’Twas The Night Before Christmas.”
The program, which begins at 5:30 p.m. with a reception in the front lobby, has become an annual holiday tradition at The Center as a way to usher in the holiday season and give back to those less fortunate in the community.
For the second consecutive year, The Center will partner with Somerset Walmart to help local children in need have a brighter Christmas and receive toys and items they want this holiday through the store’s Angel Tree project. The Center will once again be a part of the project and serve as the official drop-off site for all unwrapped Angel Tree holiday gifts.
The Bell Tones, a children’s choir from Bell Elementary School in Wayne County, are back by popular demand to celebrate the holiday season at The Center and will be the featured entertainment at the free Spirit of Giving event. They will perform a selection of holiday music leading up to the moment when several thousand twinkling lights on The Center’s 20-foot Christmas tree are officially turned on for the holidays.
Free cookies and apple cider donated by Walmart and milk and custard donated by Southern Belle Dairy will be served at the reception. The holiday event also will include door prize giveaways and a drawing for holiday gift baskets prepared by The Center’s staff.
“The Center is extremely pleased to be able to provide our community an evening of wonderful holiday entertainment and activities that will get us all in the Christmas spirit,” Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, said. “We truly hope everyone will join us on Nov. 29 to help The Center usher in this most blessed of seasons.”
As part of the Spirit of Giving event, The Center will have a tree on display that night for guests to select the name of a child from an Angel Tree tag on the tree. The tag contains basic information about the child—including age, clothing sizes, and gift wishes—to help with shopping and make sure children receive some of the items on their wish list this holiday season.
Afterwards, those who took a tag from the tree can purchase their Angel Tree gifts, attach the tag, and return all unwrapped gifts to The Center, located at 2292 South U.S. 27 at Traffic Light 15. A large Christmas sleigh will remain in the front lobby of The Center throughout the holiday season in which all Angel Tree holiday gifts should be placed.
“We are proud to partner with Walmart on the Angel Tree project and support the community in such a worthy cause,” Lawson said. “The Center strives to improve the quality of lives of all residents within our 42-county primary service area, so this effort is a natural fit for us.”
In addition, the Spirit of Giving event will kick off holiday programming for the Children’s Prime Time Theatre and Center Stage series presented by Lake Cumberland Performing Arts in partnership with The Center.
Set to begin at 7 p.m. following the tree-lighting ceremony, “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” celebrates the holiday spirit in song and fantasy as this hilarious musical introduces Santa in a particularly beneficent light. The performance is based on the inspired, timeless poem, “A Visit from S. Nicholas,” written by Clement Moore.
On Dec. 16, the musical version of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” comes to Center Stage for a holiday performance. This Broadway-style production features a 25-member cast and a live chamber orchestra. Curtain time is at 7:30 p.m.
For ticket information on these and other performances, contact The Center’s Box Office at 606-677-6000 or order online at centertech.com.