Tree Lightings Mark Beginning of OBX Christmas Season

Santa arriving at Duck to the excited cheers of the children.
Santa arriving at Duck to the excited cheers of the children.

The first weekend in December on the Outer Banks is a pretty special time. That is the official opening of the Christmas Season.

Sure Thanksgiving gets all the press, but as far as the Outer Banks is concerned until the Christmas Trees are lit in Manteo and Duck, it’s just not official yet.

Duck-Holiday Spirit with a Twist

Of course, the Duck tree lighting is done with a distinctive twist. The shape is right and the lights are there, but there’s not actual tree. The tree shape is created by crab pots and it does give a nice, distinctive touch to the celebration.

There is a lot about the Duck celebration and a much of it is that the way the town goes about it is just a little but different than anyone else. There is music, but it’s Dixieland from Just Playing Dixieland—a local group and they are very good.

Pets are encouraged—well, dogs. We’re not sure how cats would do in that environment. But it is nice to see.

There is, of course, hot chocolate and cookies, but best of all, when Santa comes to Duck, he is absolutely at his best. Santa, when he comes to the town, may be the best reason to put the Duck tree lighting on the annual to do list.

Manteo-The Spirit of Small Town Christmas

That is not to denigrate Manteo at all.

In fact, the Manteo tree lighting is so perfectly small town America and community that it feels as though there should be a painting of it somewhere.

This year may have been the best attended in some time. We can’t be sure, but Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church ran out of their Brunswick Stew this year—and on a chilly night, it was missed.

Still the evening is fantastic.

Centered around the old Dare County Courthouse that is now home to the Dare County Arts Council, the evening features dancing from local churches and a dance school. Youth choirs fill the air with music, there’s a Yuletide log burning and yes, Santa does make an appearance.

It is a wonderful, wonderful experience and one certain to put the holiday spirit into anyone’s step.

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