Countdown to Christmas
"10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."
And Alexandria's new Christmas decorations flickered to life Friday night.
The countdown was part of "Christmas in the Fort" organized by the Runestone Museum.
The lights and the big trees they adorn over five Broadway intersections are all new this year.
The multi-colored lights are LED, which are more energy efficient and durable, according to Alexandria Light and Power, which puts up the decorations.
One other decoration change: A big "Merry Christmas" sign was placed across North Broadway, between the Runestone Museum and the Probuild lumber store.
The free celebration included a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus; a collection of toys, mittens and hats for the Jaycees' Jingle Bells telethon fundraiser (set for December 11); Santa's reindeer; a crackling fire to take the chill off; children's choirs; and popcorn, pretzels and apple cider for guests to enjoy.
This event is sponsored by several businesses and individuals who contributed through the Runestone Museum's four different giving levels - platinum, gold, silver and bronze.