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Christmas comes early to Smithfield

Christmas came early to Smithfield on Nov. 19 with the return of the town’s annual tree-lighting ceremony after a one-year, pandemic-imposed hiatus.

Fittingly, Will Drewery, Isle of Wight County’s emergency services coordinator, served as this year’s honorary tree lighter. Prior to joining the county’s staff, he’d served as the Western Tidewater Health District’s public health emergency manager — leading the district’s COVID-19 contact tracing investigations and the distribution of nearly 100,000 vaccine doses.

Traditionally, the ceremony has been held the first Friday in December, the same date as Smithfield High School’s choral performances at Historic St. Luke’s Church and Museum.

According to Connie Chapman, special events coordinator for the town’s and county’s joint tourism department, town staff asked that the event be moved earlier so the tree would be lit for the Mistletoe Market, which took place on Main Street the evening of Nov. 20.

The ceremony took place on the lawn by the gazebo in front of the Smithfield Times building, featuring performances by Smithfield High School’s band and Trinity United Methodist Church’s preschool. The Woman’s Club of Smithfield provided homemade cookies and other refreshments.