Video: Del Ray Tree Lighting

Hundreds gather in the farmers market lot to celebrate the season and remember Nancy Dunning.

The Del Ray Business Association officially kicked off the holiday season on Friday evening with the annual neighborhood tree lighting and luminarias.

Hundreds gathered in the farmers market lot at the corner of Mount Vernon and E. Oxford avenues to celebrate the season and await Santa's arrival.

Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille, a Del Ray resident, was on hand along with council members Paul Smedberg and Del Pepper. Vice Mayor-elect Allision Silberberg and Councilman-elect John Chapman joined them on stage along with Sheriff Dana Lawhorne.

“If you live in Del Ray, you live in the hottest zip code, 22301, in the country in terms of real estate,” Euille said, drawing cheers from the homeowners in attendance.

The luminarias were set up along Mount Vernon Avenue in memory of Nancy Dunning, a popular realtor who helped start many of the festivals and traditions in the neighborhood. Dunning was murdered in her Del Ray home nine years ago this week. The case remains unsolved.

Kate Moran, Dunning’s niece, led the crowd in carols and counted down the lighting of the tree, which was donated by “Mango” Mike Anderson and Bill Blackburn of Pork Barrel BBQ and Holy Cow.

Many businesses stayed open late Friday offering holiday spirits and treats in their stores. 

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