Tree lighting, Newtown tour, parade on tap

The Christmas season begins this weekend with a list of festivities nearly as long as Santa’s – the annual tree lighting, parade and unveiling of public art.

The city’s 20-foot tree – donated by P&J’s Tree Farm in Delmar and put in place by the City’s Public Works Department – will be lit at 6:15 p.m. on Friday, in front of the Government Office Building.

The ceremony, from 5 to 8 p.m., will feature Santa at First Shore Federal, talking to children and posing for photographs, food trucks, entertainment and artists and crafters on the Downtown Plaza.

Sparkling with more lights and ornaments, the tree is sponsored by the City, Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District, Farmers Insurance Malone Agency and First Shore Federal.

On the Plaza, wreaths will be hung from light posts. Each wreath is sponsored by a local Downtown business or organization.

On Sunday, the Salisbury Jaycees’ 70th annual Christmas Parade will begin at 2 p.m. If it rains, it will be postponed until Dec. 11.

With the theme The Magic of Christmas, the parade will begin at Civic Avenue and Mount Hermon Road, turn onto East Main Street and end at Wicomico Middle School. The reviewing stand will be at City Park.

Also on Sunday, residents of the Newtown Historic Neighborhood are offering visitors a unique holiday gift: a trip back in time.

Eight homeowners will welcome guests from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for a Christmas-themed peek into the past during the neighborhood’s annual holiday tour.

Visitors will also have access to Salisbury’s oldest structure, Poplar Hill Mansion, built in 1795.

On Friday, Mayor Jake Day will unveil two works of public art, part of a series of projects sponsored by the Salisbury Arts & Entertainment District, plus private contributors.

Members of a committee identified 16 electric utility boxes and solicited artists to paint and beautify them.

Four drab, metal boxes have been transformed into works of art. By summer, seven will be completed.

Unveiling will begin on Church Street near Route 50 at artist Helene English’s work, Cupcakes and Coffee, behind Cake Art. The box is painted with vibrant colors with a clean, simple graphic that is easy to read from a distance.

“By using food images, a subtle message is conveyed that there is dining available Downtown,” she said.

The second box, on Camden Street near the Salisbury Art Space, was painted by Ashley Brown. On a white background, she painted creatures in various sizes and colors.

“It was important for me to think about the mixed cultures, backgrounds, ages and sizes of the people who make up our community,” Brown said.

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