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Photos and videos by Sera Frederick. Mayor Adam Barringer welcomed several hundred people to the second annual "Christmas on Canal" on Friday evening with the lighting of the NSB Christmas Tree. Among the local dignitaries he recognized were Canal Street merchants Debbie Peterson and Cindy Jones, who spearheaded the event to encourage shoppers to consider historic Canal Street for bargains.
Editor's note: The following story was submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith:
NEW SMYRNA BEACH -- The rain stropped just in time Friday night as Santa Claus prepared to flick the switch lighting the Christmas tree on Canal Street kicking off the holiday season.
Hundreds of people gathered on the east end of historic Canal Street to witness the lighting of the holiday tree.
Mayor Adam Barringer addresses an enthusiastic crowd on Canal Street after the lighting of the NSB Christmas Tree. Standing next to him is City Commissioner Jim Hathaway.
Mayor Adam Barringer and Vice Mayor James Hathaway encouraged those in attendance to shop locally and thanked the historic district’s merchants on Canal Street, the Community Redevelopment Association, and the taxpayers for their continued support to the city’s improved vibrancy.
“Congratulations to all who made this possible, Hathaway said.
Mayor Barringer said the lighting of the Christmas tree was symbolic of what happens nationwide at this time of year.
“I encourage everyone to shop local and eat at our restaurants,” the mayor said.
Barringer thanked those who were responsible for the opening of the seasonal holiday including all the volunteers who donated their time. “I want to draw attention to those merchants who took the time to make this happen,” the mayor said. “The two most responsible for making Canal Street what it is today are Cindy Jones and Deborah Peterson.”
Santa Claus fires up the crowd after the lighting of the tree.
The two local merchants were strolling up and down Canal Street Friday night taking in the sights and sounds.
Flare Elliot, another merchant on Canal Street, expressed her happiness with the lighting of the tree.
“This is a wonderful event,” she said. “I’m thankful the rain held off so we could enjoy this night.” Following the lighting of the tree, caroling was enjoyed at Christmas Park where Santa also entertained little ones in his house.
Adele Aletti, president of the Flagler Avenue Merchants Association and proprietor of Gone Bonkers on Flagler Avenue, welcomed those who gathered in front of the Chamber of Commerce building for the start of the Christmas season. She echoed the sentiments of Barringer and Hathaway: “Spend plenty of time to enjoy everything. Shop locally.”
About the contributing writer:
Dale Smith is a resident of New Smyrna Beach, who has reported on local news in Volusia County since October 2009. His writing background includes a mix of journalism and public relations in several community newspapers and a p.r. firm in northern Virginia. He attended Barton Academy in Barton, Vt., and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Broadcasting for radio & TV broadcasting.