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A clear view of the monument and plenty to eat

If you were worried about the Washington Monument lighting being delayed by repairs, it wasn't even close.

The scaffolding that obscured the city landmark for most of the year was dismantled in early October, in plenty of time for workers to string rows of colored lights along the monument's column in preparation for Thursday's annual holiday gathering on Mount Vernon Place.

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The dramatic monument lighting happens at about 7:45 p.m., and stage entertainment, which includes local choirs, begins at 6 p.m.

But the fun and festivities begin even earlier, at 5:30 p.m., with food and craft vendors assembling for a holiday village in the west square of Mount Vernon Place.

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This year, there will be more of a local presence among the food purveyors, according to Mike Evitts of the Downtown Partnership, the organization producing the event in conjunction with the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts.

Among the food for sale from nearby restaurants will be beef bourguignon tips from Marie Louise Bistro; falafel and doner (kebab) sandwiches from Cazbar, a Turkish restaurant on Charles Street; pizza from Home Slyce; specialty hot dogs from Sascha’s 527; and “turducken” gumbo from Ware House 518, the new restaurant in the old Louie’s Bookstore Cafe space.

Food from two Bryan Voltaggio restaurants will be served at the lighting. From Aggio, the chef’s contemporary Italian restaurant at Power Plant Live, there will be squid ink pasta with Maryland blue crab, jalapeno, and seafood seasoning. And from Family Meal, his soon-to-open modern diner at the Inner Harbor, there will be peppermint marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate.

Other restaurants with a planned presence at the lighting are James Joyce Irish Pub & Restaurant (beef and Guinness stew), Golden West Cafe (New Mexican-inspired fare), Plates Restaurant (Greek food), Tir Na Nog (Guinness stew and lamb meat balls) and The Verandah (Indian wraps).

A few food trucks are expected as well. Kooper’s Chowhound Burger Wagon and its brand-new sister truck, Slainte on Wheels, are both scheduled to be present at the lighting.

Other vendors include Cafe Latte Da, Delmarva Popcorn & Nut Co., Zeke’s Coffee, Maison Intimate Caterer, Parfections and Oh So Delicious Cookie Company.

A Monumental Occasion: The Annual Lighting of Baltimore's Washington Monument is from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Mount Vernon Place. The public is encouraged to enter the park's west square from Cathedral Street (not from Charles Street). For more information, go to bop.org.

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