Ready for Christmas carols, hot, spiced drinks and lights for miles?

Be on the downtown Denton Square at 5:30 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 6, and get all three at the 2019 Denton Holiday Lighting Festival.

The annual holiday event gets the winter season started in high style. The celebration gets rolling with the annual sing-along with the Denton Community Band (brush up on “Up on the Housetop,” “Silver Bells” and “Jingle Bells”).

Then Santa Claus will help a Denton child flip the switch to light the Nellie R. Stevens Holly Tree — the tree was newly planted in the summer of 2018, but has grown almost 3 feet this year. Then, the holidays are afoot in Denton.

The Square will be stocked with holiday-themed vendor and activity booths. Music will just keep pouring onto West Hickory and West Oak streets. Local merchants will have their doors wide open for holiday shoppers and browsers. Oh, and a lot of merchants will be serving spiced, hot cider for Wassail Weekend, a competition that seeks to crown the best seasonal version of the famous winter beverage (served sans alcohol so families can participate.)

This year’s festival has some new activities, too. A temporary ice skating rink will make its debut — all the time slots are filled, but organizers encourage attendees to check in to see if they can skate in the event that someone with a reserved time slot doesn’t attend. Photo and Instagram enthusiasts should look for a big snow globe, where they can walk inside and strike a pose (but the entire festival is Instagram-able, really.)

For those who can’t fathom Christmas without charity, the lighting includes Elves Shelves, a Christmas toy drive spearheaded by First Baptist Church of Denton. Attendees can deliver a new, unwrapped toy to the drive collection box on the Square, or donate virtually by visiting www.dentonholidaylighting.com/donate-a-virtual-toy.

The lighting is free, though some activities include a cost.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at @LBreedingDRC.

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