Christmas slips into downtown Lenoir

Nov. 25, 2013 @ 12:55 PM

Caravans of kids tripped down the streets from the parking lots in downtown Lenoir Saturday, on their way to Christmas.

It was Nov. 23, but in between the street barricades that separated the rest of the city from the Lenoir Downtown Christmas Festival, it looked, smelled and tasted like Dec. 25.  

Between those barricades, whipped cream sank into Styrofoam mugs of hot chocolate. Moms counted out five-dollar bills, handing them over in exchange for wreaths and ornaments and paintings on wood.

Kids perched on chairs, getting their faces covered in sticky paint or dictating the terms of their balloon animals. Parents stood waiting outside the bounce houses, balancing their kids’ loads of free stickers and their completed crafts and occasionally raising cellphone cameras to the holes in the mesh walls to grab a few in-flight photos.  

The Grinch, Conrad the Crawdad and a whole cast of Santas, official and otherwise, paraded through the streets. And young and old sank their teeth into kettle corn and corndogs and cheesecake on a stick.

And in the window of the Crows Nest Antique Mall & Emporium, just outside the streets blocked off for the festivities, a woman perched on a ladder draping strings of white lights in the windows – a reminder that, of course, it’s getting close to Christmas in the real world, too.