Last updated: December 06. 2013 5:59PM

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It was a unique and special moment in time Thursday night as downtown Clinton was transformed once again into a Christmas wonderland that delighted child and adult alike. It was, without question, a Wonderful Christmas in the City.


In its third year, the event — complete with hay rides, the building of gingerbread houses, carriage rides through downtown, marching bands, children dancing and singing, and yet another dazzling display at the History Museum — was a tremendous success, yet another feather in the cap of all those partnering agencies that, together, brought yet another gem of an adventure to residents of the city, the county and, most likely, a few visitors to boot.


Our hope that this event would be the start of a wonderful new Clinton tradition has now been realized, and we applaud all those who had a hand in making this year’s holiday extravaganza just as spectacular as the one in 2012 and 2011. In fact, it was a bit more special, what with Santa arriving in the downtown via train and heading off to his house to visit with all the little ones.


And there was the giant step back in time one experienced if they happened to walk by some of the classic cars positioned along Lisbon Street, one sitting near a sign boosting ‘Welcome to Bedford Falls,’ a reminder that the weekend would bring the first of six performances of the Christmas classic ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ at the Sampson Community Theatre.


Each of the other events of the night were just as special. The carriage and wagon rides gave participants a unique vantage point from which to view the city, lit up in its Christmas finest; the hay rides offered fellowship and old-time fun on a warm night made for just that kind of fun; the gingerbread event proved creative, entertaining and scrumptious treat, all rolled into one; the silent auction showed off some of Sampson’s finest talents and generous businesses; and the food, nestled in a festive and inviting tent, was absolutely delicious.


The History Museum, too, was on top of its game, wrapped like a brightly-colored gift, providing not only its usual buffet of history, but a more dramatic and powerful display, allowing guests to step back in time to Christmases past.


Even for those who’ve had the pleasure of visiting one of Sampson County’s brightest gems, the History Museum seemed to take on a new life, offering a different, yet just as powerful display, leaving you wanting to come back for more and perhaps more still.


There was just something about Thursday night that made it extra special in so many ways, a tribute to those who devised the idea and to the many volunteer hands who brought the idea to fruition.


Our county seat is growing and getting prettier by the day, a city on the move yet steeped in all the things that have made Clinton and Sampson County the special place that it has always been.


Christmas in the City has become yet another of those gems, and one we are very glad it is now a part of our holiday traditions.

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