Hot chocolate, Santa Claus and Christmas carols Saturday afternoon will help make the season more festive as Greater Orange holds the first Christmas in the Park event.
The event will be held from 1 to 6 p.m. in Stark Park on Green Avenue. Santa Claus will be in the park from 2 to 4 p.m. Local photographer Stump Weatherford will take free pictures of children with Santa.

A giant blue spruce tree from North Carolina will be lighted in the park.
Local groups and individuals will set up booths to see food and handmade items. The Heritage Center will have cookies, breads, candy, hot cider and Christmas ornaments. Malinda Miller will sell T-shirts for children and adults, along with afghans and Christmas stockings. Nedra Francis of Starlight Baptist Church will have Sloppy Joe sandwiches, while Betty Sells from the church will sell individual pies and cakes. Handmade jewelry will be available through Doni McMahon with “Fun and Fancy.”
The Pinehurst Pentecostal Church will have hot chocolate, popcorn, and peanut brittle. In addition, the church will provide entertainment through songs and dramatizations, along with playing recorded Christmas music.

The Stark Foundation will set up informational booths for Shangri La, the Stark Museum of Art, and the W.H. Stark House.

Organizers of Christmas in the Park are requesting that people attending bring a canned food or non-perishable food to donate to Orange Christian Services.
The Stark Museum, across the street from the park, currently has a display of medieval and renaissance illuminated manuscripts opened to hand-painted illustrations of angels. A large banner with a replica of one of the angelic figures is on the side of the museum, blending in with the Christmas theme of angels.

Last year, the city of Orange installed white-light angels on utility poles along Green Avenue. This year, the cities of Pinehurst and West Orange have joined with the Celebration of Lights project, and Orange added the angels on 16th Street, from Green Avenue to Sunset Drive.

Eight Pinehurst businesses- Reliable Cleaners, Roberts Meat Market and Steakhouse, Orange Carpet and Sleep Shop, J. Scott’s Aflorist, Barclay Software, and Mickey Phelan and Orange Venture- bought the angles. Dal Sasso Realty bought two angels, and Sabine Federal Credit Union has a lighted display and an angel. The Iris Lodge made a donation for next year’s Celebration of Lights.

“I think this was a very positive move for the city and the businesses along Strickland Drive,” said Joyce Wilkinson, Pinehurst city secretary. She said next year, Pinehurst will have more lights, especially as the Park Avenue will be a major link from Interstate 10 to the Shangri La gardens.

In West Orange, the Firestone Credit Union, Harmon Chevrolet, and Hogan Steel and Erectors bought angels. Businesses and individuals making donations to buy an additional angel are AA Muffler, Economy Inn, King’s Gym, Lom’s Seafood Market, attorney Joe Alford, and Wanda Wood. Individuals at the West Orange Holiday in the Park also made contributions for an angle.

The Orange Kiwanis Club set up a number of lighted displays in the downtown Orange area on Saturday. The lights have been donated by local businesses and individuals. The displayers are at the Orange County Courthouse, City Hall, the police station, the Stark Education Building, the Stark Museum of Art, Lamar State College-Orange library, plus the offices of attorney Steve Howard, attorney Jack Smith and the Ben Culpepper Insurance Agency.

Orange City Councilwoman Theresa Beauchamp is chair of the Celebration of Lights. “We are hoping that everyone will use white lights to compliment all the white-lighted angels and the community Christmas tree,” she said.