The festivities begin at 5 p.m. with luminaries being lit and holiday music by the Raleigh Concert Band and the Langston Ladies and Lads singing group. The governor and first gentleman will make their way to the south grounds at 6:15 p.m. to officially begin the ceremony. The lit tree will be visible the length of Fayetteville Street.
Local food trucks will open for business at 5 p.m. on Morgan Street. The Junior Woman’s Club will give away cookies and hot chocolate while local sports team mascots entertain the crowd prior to the ceremony. Even Santa is scheduled to make an appearance.
The annual holiday open house will begin at 6:30. The public is invited inside to see the Capitol’s holiday decorations, including trees decorated in honor of breast cancer awareness and the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. Meanwhile, the 8501 Youth Hand Bell Choir will perform holiday music in the rotunda.
Visitors will find the N.C. Museum of History and its gift shop open, and will enjoy the giant decorated tree in the lobby. Old-fashioned toys and games, a “make and take” craft and exhibits add to the fun. Exhibits, including "Real to Reel: The Making of Gone with the Wind," "The Story of North Carolina" and "At the Speed of a Girl -- Celebrating 100 Years of Girl Scouting" will remain open until 7:30 p.m.
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences also will be open that evening, offering hands-on activities and “meet the animals” programs for children. Tickets to view Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will be sold until 7 p.m., and the museum will remain open until 9 p.m.
Sponsors are the State Capitol Foundation, State Historic Sites Division of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, N.C. Department of Administration - Facility Management, N.C. Museum of History, N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and the Junior Woman’s Club of Raleigh. The Cardinal Club of Raleigh is sponsoring the 24-foot tree, grown by Peak Farms in Ashe County.
There will be free parking along the street and in state government parking lots after 5 p.m.
The State Capitol’s mission is to preserve and interpret the history, architecture and functions of the 1840 building and Union Square. The Capitol is bounded by Edenton, Salisbury, Morgan and Wilmington streets. For more information, visit htp://www.nchistoricsites.org/
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources annually serves more than 19 million people through its 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, the nation’s first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the N.C. Arts Council, and the State Archives.
The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources serves as a champion for North Carolina’s creative industry, which employs nearly 300,000 North Carolinians and contributes more than $41 billion to the state’s economy. To learn more, visit http://www.nccultureevents.com/