Local Restaurants, Businesses to Leave Holiday Lights Up and Welcome Visitors to Outdoor Areas

Chapel Hill, NC (January 7, 2022)  – Orange County economic development and tourism offices are asking local businesses to leave their seasonal lights and up until at least February 1 in an effort to draw visitors looking for cheerful retreats from the cold winter months.

The Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau, Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, and the offices of Carrboro Economic Development and Hillsborough Economic Development made the suggestion before kicking off a new campaign, “Sights, Lights and Bites,” aimed at promoting local retailers, restaurants and other businesses. Plus, with many businesses just beginning to get back to a new normal in the middle of a pandemic, any excuse to spread good cheer is welcome.

“Many community members said they were not ready to let go of the glitz and glamour of the season just yet,” said Laurie Paolicelli, director of the Visitors Bureau. 

“After the year we've all had, we certainly deserve to keep the cheer going just a little longer,” said Shannan Campbell, Hillsborough’s planning and economic development manager. 

Two popular West Franklin Street locales are amongst the first to sign on to the Sights, Lights and Bites campaign.
“[We’re] proud to light up the season,” says Robert Poitras, owner of the Carolina Brewery. “We are leaving our lights on through January and we invite residents and visitors to enjoy the extra light, heaters and seasonal goodwill.”

"At The Lantern we are keeping our holiday lights up through the month of January to keep things cheerful and bright," said owner Andrea Reusing. "Providing more light through the dark winter months will hopefully create a sense of optimism.”

Visitors, shoppers and diners are invited to snap photos with the lights and local decor and tag #sightslightsandbites on social media, and visit www.sightslightsandbites.com for a list of participating businesses as well as restaurants offering outdoor seating and heaters.


Media Contacts
Laurie Paolicelli
(919) 259-1658

Patty Griffin
(919) 245-4321


Photo by SP Murray