ELK PARK — In what is slated to become a tradition for the town, Elk Park held its inaugural tree lighting on the evening of Nov. 26 at the town’s park.

The first edition of the event was held in honor of notable Elk Park local and tree donor Calvin Winters.

The event was a time for families to come out and see the tree, enjoy some refreshments, carols and let kids get pictures with Santa.

“It’s really just to get the community together,” Mayor Daniel Boone said.

The goal was to have a nearby holiday event for families that would give them a chance to get Santa photos.

Winters was a tree grower who donated trees to the town in the past, including the tree at the park this year.

Boone said he has known the Winters family most of his life, having grown up and attended school alongside Calvin’s son, Aaron. He hopes to keep the tree lighting going in the future, and the town promoted the event via Facebook. Boone added he hopes the event can draw some interest from other nearby towns like Roan Mountain, Newland and Banner Elk.

The event was free and open to the public. Boone said he hopes to host the town’s first-ever Christmas parade next year before the lighting.

“I guess we’ll just see where this takes us,” Boone said.

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