Santa Helps Light Lucky Strike Tower

2015 American Tobacco Tower Lighting

Durham gets in the Christmas spirit during the 11th Annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting in Durham on December 4, 2015. (Photo by Scott Clevenger)

In downtown Durham, the American Tobacco Historic District rang in the holiday season with the 11th annual lighting of the Lucky Strike Tower.

Kids and parents alike were excited in the hours leading up to the lighting with some families arriving at the American Tobacco Campus as early as 3 p.m.

“It’s a good time to get together. It’s a time to celebrate, and we need that in midst of what’s going on,” Joy Watts said. “It’s good for the soul.”

The festivities include musical entertainment from the touring cast of the Sound of Music. Area school choirs also performed a selection of popular Christmas songs.

2015 American Tobacco Tower Lighting

WRAL-TV Anchor Gerald Owens emcees the 2015 American Tobacco Tower Lighting, getting a little help from Santa. (Photo by Scott Clevenger)

Along with the entertainment Friday night, non-profit groups competed in the Christmas Tree Challenge which raises funds used to advance their respective causes.

“This is the first holiday thing we’ve done this season and it really puts us in the spirit,” Jenny Barnes said.

Diamond View Park outside the Durham Performing Arts Center was also lined with decorated Christmas trees from competitors in the 6th annual Triangle Christmas Tree Challenge.

Each tree represents an area non-profit organization. Visitors can vote for their favorite via text message and winning trees in different categories will walk away with donations of $1,000 to $5,000.

American Tobacco Tree of Bikes

The Tree of Bikes is lit for the holidays as part of the 11th Annual American Tobacco Tower Lighting in Durham on December 4, 2015. (Photo by Scott Clevenger)

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Thanks to WRAL.com’s Janine Bowen for this capcom story & to Scott Clevenger for these capcom photos.

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