Christmas on the Cumberland is not just a city event but a regional attraction that is now open and free to the public.
The City of Clarksville unwrapped its Christmas gift to the city Tuesday evening with the lighting of Christmas on the Cumberland, a holiday light display that is a top attraction not just to local residents but the region.
On a brisk and cold eve, a substantial crowd gathered, bundled in coats, scarfs, hats and mittens — a far cry from the 2007 event and its exceptionally temperatures that could have given Santa heat stroke under all that velvet suiting and flowing cape.
Hot chocolate and spice cider were in demand as two tables served up beverages to help revelers beat the chill in the air. Frances Sykes donned a Victorian gown to set the holiday spirit as she handed out programs for the evenings event.
J.T. Daniels of Eagle 94.3 FM emcee’d the event, with Pastor Scott Evans of the Grace Church of the Nazarene offering the invocation. Mayor Johnny Piper took time to acknowledge the city employees who have spent hundreds of hours installing this years holiday display.
APSU’s Honors Brass Quintet played a selection of holiday music for the early visitors, with Hypertension, a local and popular combo, taking center stage on the riverside terrace with some bluesy holiday and popular songs. Beside them was the switch to “turn on the lights.”
With a festive welcome, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in their sleigh, towing wagons of holiday trees and a collection of festive Nutcrackers.
Then with a collective press of the switch, Santa, Mayor Johnny Piper, and other officials lit up Christmas on the Cumberland.
During this event, Public Information coordinator Tonya Vaden presented finalists and the winning artist in the Christmas on the Cumberland Art Contest, which was open to all Middle Schools in the Montgomery County school system. Of the hundreds of entries received, the winning artist was Cori Marrott of Northeast Middle School, who received a framed copy of her poster, which is being used to advertise the Christmas on the Cumberland event. Other winners include:
- Unity Christian Academy: Yu-Jeong Choi and Jaen Yeon Lee.
- Clarksville Academy: Matt Hyams and Amelia Mathis.
- New Providence Middle School: Rebecca Ratcliff and So Park.
- St. Mary’s Catholic School: Amanda Kelling and Nicole Mullins.
- Richview Middle School: Leann Smith and Alyssa Durant.
- Northeast Middle School: Cori Marriot and Alec Seeburger.
- Rossview Middle School: Analena Boehms and Kristen Johnson.
Christmas on the Cumberland is open 5-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and 5-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday through Jan. 1 at the McGregor Park Riverwalk. The event is free and handicapped accessible.