Smith Mountain Lake, VA (November 19, 2012) - The Willard Companies is pleased to announce its annual Holiday Tree Lighting and Open House event at Westlake Towne Center on Thursday, December 6, 2012 from 5:30 - 8 p.m. Several holiday festivities are planned including four live concerts, horse and carriage rides, free pictures with Santa, and awarding a $1,000 shopping spree.

In addition, the first 150 individuals who donate a new, unwrapped toy to WE CARE of Franklin County during the event will be given a complimentary ticket to a special showing of "White Christmas" at Westlake Cinema showing after the event. Collection boxes for toy donations will be located inside the retail stores during the event and movie vouchers can be picked up after toy donation.

Activities taking place during the two hour event include:

  • Special arrival of Santa on a fire truck
  • Free photos with Santa sponsored by Your School Photos
  • Horse and Carriage Rides sponsored by Kroger
  • Live concert by Lakeside Singers
  • Live concert by The Mark Dubbeld Family
  • Live concert by Smith Mountain Lake Harmeneers
  • Live concert by EastLake Community Church members
  • Complimentary refreshments
  • WE CARE of Franklin County Toy Drive
  • Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) at Westlake Library
  • Carilion Clinic Helipad site open for air ambulance tours and meet the crew
  • Special appearances by Miss Smith Mountain Lake and Miss Blue Ridge pageant winners
  • Free holiday coloring books to children donated by Carilion Clinic

Participating Westlake Towne Center businesses include Kroger, SweetFrog, Westlake Library, Merle Norman, Haywood's Jewelers, Westlake Salon & Spa, and Cottage Gate. Carilion Clinic will also be participating.

The Fraser fir selected for the event will stand approximately 26' tall and was picked from Roll Out Farm in Pilot, Virginia. The tree will be centrally located at the retail shopping center and stand in front of Westlake Library at Westlake Towne Center.

According to Christopher Finley, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for The Willard Companies, "The annual Tree Lighting and Open House is a festive event for the entire family. It also serves as an opportunity to collect toy donations to benefit WE CARE of Franklin County and many families who are in need this holiday season."