Light Up Night draws hundreds of people into the downtown business district.
SHARON, Pa. -- Shenango Valley residents will gather Thursday on West State Street near the Shenango River to kick off the holiday season.
Sharon's annual Light Up Night is set to begin with the arrival of Santa Claus at 6:30 p.m.
The event has quickly become a tradition in the city, normally drawing hundreds of participants. The Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City will be a focal point of this year's event.
John and Julianne Koborie of Trumbull Avenue, whose daughter, Rebecca, 48, worked in the World Trade Center and died in the attack, will be on hand to light the Christmas torch.
The torch, dedicated during the first Light Up Night on Nov. 21, 1996, is held aloft by a 10-foot-high cherub and burns through the Orthodox Christmas as a representation of "community spirit of peace, joy and love toward one another."
A smaller torch used to light the Christmas torch arrives in a parade that comes down East State Street from the Daffin's Candies parking lot at Oakland Avenue.
The parade begins at 6:45 p.m. and the torch will be carried by Maj. Ted Slye of the Salvation Army. Maj. Slye, with headquarters in Sharon, spent a week in New York City assisting rescue workers and firefighters looking for victims in the attack. He will present the torch to the Kobories.
Other activities: The lighting of the Christmas torch will start a 7 p.m. ceremony that will include several speakers and special music from a community choir led by Vic Ellenberger, choir director at Sharon High School, and a community high school band directed by Melissa Kaschak, band director at Sharon.
There will be food booths set up by various nonprofit groups and the evening will end with a fireworks display from atop The Winner building at 32 W. State St.
For those who want to start the celebration a bit earlier, The Sunshine Kids, a gospel singing group, will perform at 4 p.m. around the grand piano on The Winner's first floor.