The holidays arrive at Smith Mountain Lake on Thursday, December 5, as The Willard Companies presents the annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Open House Event.

Festivities will be underway at Westlake Towne Center from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. There will be plenty to do, with fun for the whole family including free pictures with Santa, live concerts, horse and carriage rides, and much more.

Give back and win

One of the biggest aspects of this annual celebration is the toy drive to benefit WE CARE of Franklin County. In appreciation of the SML community’s generosity, The Willard Companies will give away a free ticket to the special showing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” to the first 150 people who donate a new, unwrapped toy. The movie showing starts at 8 p.m., right after the tree lighting.

Photo: Willard Companies Christmas Tree

Everyone attending will also have a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree. In addition, Verizon Wireless is giving away an iPad Mini at the end of the event.

What’s happening? Full list of activities

  • A special arrival: Santa makes his entrance on a fire truck
  • Get free photos with Santa (sponsored by Your School Photos)
  • Enjoy a scenic horse-and-carriage ride
  • Four live concerts: Lakeside Singers, The Mark Dubbeld Family, Smith Mountain Lake Harmeneers, and EastLake Community Church members
  • Free refreshments for everyone
  • Free holiday coloring books (donated by Carilion Clinic)
  • Special appearances by Miss Smith Mountain Lake and Miss Blue Ridge pageant winners
  • Holiday beer launch party at Sunken City Brewing Company (starting at 8 p.m.)

And don’t forget the toy drive, free movie showing, and giveaways!

Every year, the Holiday Tree Lighting and Open House event brings the Smith Mountain Lake community together for a great time—supporting local businesses and spreading holiday cheer to children who need it most. We hope to see you there!