If you need a little Christmas after that Thanksgiving feast, downtown Fayetteville is the place to be Friday.
The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will launch Holidays on Hay … A Season of Light, a new festival that will bring a state-of-the-art light show to the streets.
Meanwhile, the Downtown Alliance will keep a 22-year tradition glowing with candlelight as it becomes the new sponsor of A Dickens Holiday.
In August, the Arts Council announced that it would end its sponsorship of the Dickens festival, when celebrants don Victorian-era costumes and wander the streets in a return to the days of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol.”
The Downtown Alliance merchants organization then decided to sponsor the Dickens festival, which will be from 1 to 9 p.m. Friday.
Activities will be confined to Russell, Franklin and Maxwell streets downtown. Music will be performed by the Highland Brass Quintet, the Dickensian acapella group Oakwood Waits, Cross Creek Pipe and Drums, and the Coventry Carolers. Craft vendors, artisans and activities for children — including a gingerbread house contest — also are planned.
The crowd will relocate to Hay Street in front of the Arts Council headquarters for the community Christmas tree lighting. They will then be invited to celebrate “Dickens After Dark.”
Admission is free, although the city will charge for parking. Parking outside the Cumberland County Courthouse is free.
Meanwhile, the fun will begin at 3 p.m. at the Arts Council’s Holidays on Hay … A Season of Light. Activities will include the tree lighting at 6 p.m., a drone light show beginning at 7 p.m., art and performances, food and craft-making, all ending at 9 p.m.
The free showcase will feature aerial displays of three-dimensional seasonal shapes and characters that can be seen as far away as 4 miles. About 200 drones will light up the sky.