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Light The Fuse On The Holiday Season With Annual Times Radio Tower Lighting Festival

November 20, 2018

When it came time to plan the annual Times radio tower lighting set for Wednesday, Nov. 21, organizers had a bright idea.

In the past, the night-before-Thanksgiving tradition always went by quickly, with people rushing over to the Scranton Times Building at 149 Penn Ave. to watch fireworks go off and then hurry home. This year, they decided to extend the event for a more relaxed and entertaining night, in the vein of a holiday fair.

In the beginning, the gathering was an internal company event, a sort of year-end office party. But as the occasion grew with more and more people in attendance, it expanded to include the public as a gift to the community. Organizers at Times-Shamrock Communications consider the Times tower to be an emblematic beacon home for those returning to the area for the holidays, much like the Electric City sign.

“This year’s tower lighting is our 58th and will certainly be one of our best. For many, this event has been a long-standing official start to the Christmas season in Scranton,” said Don Farley, chief operating officer of Times-Shamrock Print and Digital. “The Lynett and Haggerty families, (publishers and owners), extend an invitation to all to join us for the festivities.”

The celebration starts Wednesday afternoon at 3:30 and includes a children’s coloring contest, a limited-edition commemorative ornament sale and free holiday movies shown in the building’s fifth-floor radio theater.

Next door at 129 Penn Ave., the Scranton Times Downtown Federal Credit Union will host a free meet-and-greet with Santa, at which family members can snap their own photos of kids when they visit. Between the two buildings, the outdoor Newseum will hold a holiday display, and guests can glimpse Santa’s list on the historic printing press from the Spruce Street side of the Times building.

The 100 block of Penn Avenue shuts down Wednesday starting at 7 a.m. and remains closed until late evening, while Spruce Street narrows down to a single lane between Wyoming and Franklin avenues, also starting at 7 a.m. These street closings make way for a show stage where various performers will entertain the crowds throughout the event. Six food trucks also will be on hand to sell treats such as hot chocolate, popcorn, candy and other sweets, plus heartier fare.

The lighting ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Local children previously spotlighted in the weekly column In Times of Need — all of whom live with chronic illnesses — will throw the switch to light the tower. Among these honorees will be Violet Pantucci, who has “smooth brain” disease; Serena Evans, who copes with advanced cerebral palsy and a seizure disorder; Benjamin Pryzant, who suffers from extreme kidney and bladder problems; Gage Laske, a boy with autism who suffered eye damage caused by seizures; and Jalen Chandler, who was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

Fireworks then will fill the sky, and activities will continue until 7 p.m.

Immediately following the fireworks, Run Around Scranton: The Ugly Sweater Edition will step off. Registration for the free 2-mile run will take place from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. at the Scranton Times Building.

Temperatures are expected to dip down to the low- to mid-30s that night, so bundle up the whole family when you head downtown for a night of holiday memory-making.

Contact the writer: pwilding@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5369; @pwildingTT on Twitter

 

If you go

What: The Times Radio Tower Lighting

When: Wednesday, Nov. 21, 3:30 to 7 p.m.

Where: Scranton Times Building, 149 Penn Ave.

Details: Admission is free to the family-friendly event. For more information, visit the Facebook event page or call 570-348-9100.

 

Schedule of performers

4 p.m.: Scranton Cultural Center Youth Theatre Program (featuring songs from Disney’s “Newsies”)

4:30 p.m.: Ballet Theatre

of Scranton

5 p.m.: Endless Mountain Barbershop Chorus

5:30 p.m.: Lynnette’s

Twirlerettes

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