By Jaclyn Quan
On Dec. 4, friends and families gathered at the San Gabriel Mission for the city’s 42nd annual Holiday Tree Lighting. Parents and children watched performances given by the San Gabriel Community Service Department and Jefferson Middle School’s choir and orchestra while they waited for Santa Claus to arrive.
This year’s tree lighting was sponsored by the San Gabriel Women’s Foundation. The city’s police and fire departments were responsible for bringing Santa Claus to the Mission and the lights used for the tree were provided by the Department of Electricity.
Shortly before Mayor John Harrington arrived, the San Gabriel Community Service Department and the Jefferson choir and orchestra entertained the audience.
Dancers at the event ranged in age from very young children to the elderly. Joanne Moser choreographed dances to songs such as “The Nutcracker,” “All I Want for Christmas,” and “The Happiest Christmas Tree.” Performances included ballet, hip-hop, tap, and hula.
Meanwhile, Jefferson’s choir and orchestra performed several Christmas songs, including “Deck the Halls,” “Joy to the World,” and “Jingle Bells.”
“[The concert] went pretty well, and the kids seem like they are getting better and better,” Jefferson orchestra teacher Esther Minwary stated.
Mayor John Harrington delivered his speech shortly after the choir sung “Hanukkah Shalom” at 7 p.m. In his speech, he welcomed everyone who attended the event and praised the San Gabriel Fire Department along with fire departments across California for their efforts in fighting the recent wildfires.
After his speech, raffle winners were announced by the members of the San Gabriel Women’s Foundation. Two event attendees received $25 Target gift cards.
The huge oak tree at the center of Plaza Park outside the Mission was lighted after the raffle winners were announced. Many onlookers took photos and videos to capture the moment.
Santa Claus arrived shortly afterwards in a fire truck at 7:20 p.m. and sat at a decorated bench where he took pictures with children.
Food trucks and free hot chocolate were available to the those who attended the tree lighting.