LAURINBURG — Residents can get a head start on Christmas shopping on Sunday as downtown Laurinburg celebrates the 32nd annual Christmas on Main.
The downtown tradition will begin at 1 p.m. and run through 5 p.m. with a more unique look than in year’s past as organizers Barbara Alexander and Terri Gallman with the Scotland County Arts Council try to ramp up the holiday spirit.
“Every year we’ve tried something different and new,” said Alexander. “We shifted things down towards the A.B. Gibson Center because we’ll be using the stage for a number of the performances. We’re having a Kid Zone with the bounces houses, slide, rock and face painting in between the A.B. Gibson Center and Scotland Bling.”
Performances will take place every half-hour beginning at 1:30 with musical group Melancholy Babies performing in front of the Storytelling Arts Center. The first performers to take the stage in the Art Garden, located on the side of the A.B. Gibson Center will be Krazy Feet Cloggers at 2 p.m. followed by Crystal McInnis Dance Company.
The University of North Carolina at Pembroke Global Rhythm Ensemble will perform at 3 p.m. for the first time during Christmas on Main in front of the Storytelling Arts Center — due to the large amount of set up and tear down Alexander and Gallman thought it would be best to have the group perform somewhere other than the stage.
“I’m excited we have UNCP and different performances than we’ve had in previous years,” Alexander said. “It’s nice to have some different entertainment.”
At 3:45 Karen Gibson School of Dance’s Triple Toe Cloggers will perform in the Art Garden followed by the Wagram Active Steppers at 4:15 p.m.
“We’re the first group to use the stage since the city installed it in the Art Garden,” Alexander said. “We’ll see how it works, it’s convenient because the power is there for a sound system. Hopefully it will be successful and we can use it in future years.”
The event is also a chance for shoppers to snag some early holiday deals before the craziness of Black Friday, as the local businesses will be having special sales. Some stores will also be offering refreshments and snacks for shoppers. Booths from local churches, charities and other organizations will be set up along Main Street.
“The whole point is to get people to come down and shop instead of going to Southern Pines, they come to Laurinburg and get a jump on their Christmas shopping,” Alexander said. “It’s always the Sunday before Thanksgiving and has always been that day — we tried to change it to Saturday and that didn’t work. The whole idea is right before Thanksgiving when people are in town it gives them something to do.”
Art vendors will again be set up inside the Storytelling Arts Center and the Christmas train will take children and families up and down Main Street.This year, the train will begin it’s route in the parking lot next to Scotland Bling and travel all the way down Main Street.
Alexander and Gallman switched up the food vendors, instead of having a food court, the non-profit organizations will be selling smaller food items to raise money for their causes.
R Quinyon DeBerry will be taking pictures with Santa in his studio, MQSC Digital, 117 S. Main St. Those interested in having their photo taken with Santa can call the studio, 704-516-9740, to sign up for one of the time slots.
The Hartsville Bubble Guy will be in attendance along with the United Way, Anchor Club and Laurinburg Presbyterian Church. The United Way will give children a chance to paint rocks. Those rocks that are kept/donated to the United Way will be placed around town and people who find them can bring them to the United Way and receive a prize.
The Scotland High School Anchor Club will be doing face painting and Laurinburg Presbyterian Church will be selling food and baked goods.
A number of new business have opened since last year’s Christmas on Main event and the revitalization of downtown is something Alexander has been looking forward to for years.
“It’s always been a dream to have downtown revitalized and buildings get turned into something,” she said. “You want your community to do well and thrive. I think it’s taken time for people to get invested in the whole Main Street idea. It’s good to see and hopefully people will come down and shop.”
Amber Hatten can be reached at 910-506-3170.