Out & About

A lights ‘Extravaganza’ has downtown Macon looking—and sounding—a lot like Christmas

Holiday lights turn on Friday on Poplar Street to brighten the Christmas Season.

The lights — flashing, dancing, changing and moving to seasonal music — will be launched with a live Macon Pops concert with local vocalists at 6 p.m. From then until Jan. 4, lights are on each evening at 6 p.m. accompanied by recorded Macon Pops music with a show on the hour until 10 p.m. After 10 p.m., lights stay on without blinking or music until 11 p.m.

Bryan Nichols, driving force behind the Main Street Christmas Lights Extravaganza, said it’s always a good time to enjoy the downtown lights but the last hour is great for family pictures.

“You don’t have lights changing on and off (so) get that picture with all the family looking just right,” he said. “But any evening is great for enjoying a stroll through the lights, listening to the music and having a nice time with all downtown offers, especially being with friends and family and others who come out.”

Last year was the first for the extravaganza and Nichols said without advertising other than social media and word of mouth, more than 100,000 from across Middle Georgia and beyond came. He said Visit Macon is promoting the holiday display this year and he wouldn’t be surprised if a quarter million or more come.

And this year there’s more to see. Nichols said there are more displays with about 400,000 lights that cover Poplar Street and also stretch up Third Street toward Cherry Street.

Nichols said Santa will be on hand to pose for selfies the weekends of Dec. 7-9, 14-16 and 21-23 with live reindeer Dec. 22.

“We’ve been working long and hard getting ready, a lot of nights being out until 4 a.m.,” he said, having no problem recounting preparation problems. But when he talked about the result, he was all smiles.

“It’s a delight thinking about what this means,” he said. “The comments we got last year about what it meant to people and how they enjoyed it. There were marriage proposals under the lights. People who lost loved ones said being out here with people made the holidays more bearable. And that’s not even mentioning the positive light this puts Macon and downtown in and the economic good it does our restaurants and businesses. There are headaches, but it’s worth it. Well worth it.”

Nichols, Macon Pops, sponsors and volunteers make the Main Street Christmas Lights Extravaganza happen. The 2018 event is presented by the Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital, Navicent Health. NewTown Macon serves as the umbrella organization for the now-annual production with original funding coming from Nichols winning a Downtown Challenge Grant from the Community Foundation of Central Georgia funded by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the Knight Foundation.

Macon Pops’ Steve Moretti said this year’s music will also be available on CD and online download.

“Main Street Christmas Light Extravaganza with Macon Pops”

Where: Poplar Street

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 30

Cost: Free

Information: www.facebook.com/MainStChristmasLightExtravaganza