It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in downtown Lake StevensFirst sign of winter came on a perfect night BY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER Mayor Vern Little stood proud before the crowd of children and parents who were waiting for the annual lighting of the Christmas tree and the arrival of Santa Clause.
Little took the time to say hello and thank everyone as he informed the crowd of some pending local events.
Public works, safety, and sidewalks were top on his agenda of topics but the crowd of children had only one thing on their mind -- Santa.
After Little’s brief and informative speech, police Chief Randy Celori took the time to remind all the children of the importance of safety during the holiday shopping season.
“Hold your mom or dad’s hands when you’re shopping in the malls and never leave the store if you get separated or lost,” he said.
Celori also thanked the Kiwanis for putting on the event and Boy Scout Troop 41 for their time serving cookies and hot chocolate.
It was difficult to tell, from the smiles on everyone’s faces, if the parents or the children were having more fun.
Perhaps it’s the small town feel that still surrounds Lake Stevens or maybe it was the first true sign of winter with the snow falling that made everyone feel proud, happy and neighborly.
First timers to the tree lighting ceremony were Mark Ring, wife Amy, and their 13 month-old daughter Annie. Both Mark and Amy agreed the evening was great.
“You wouldn’t find this in Seattle,” Amy said.
A group of young school children sang Christmas Carols and Betty Foster, who runs the local food bank with her husband Jim, got up and shared her singing talent with the crowd.
“I want all of you adults to help me sing,” she said.
From “Walking In A Winter Wonderland” to “Joy to the World”, Betty had the crowd singing until the sirens of the fire engine sounded letting everyone know that Santa had arrived.
As the engine pulled up next to the Journal, children ran to greet Santa as he stepped off the fire engine. Making his way to the center of the crowd before a Christmas tree not yet lit, he greeted everyone believing in the holiday spirit.
After a short talk, the countdown began and the tree was brought to life as the lights lit up the branches and the single star perched atop the tree.
With a roar from the crowd and the screams of anxious children waiting to speak to Santa, everyone was told to line-up down the sidewalk towards Jay’s Market.
The large crowd of people shuffled to form a line as the first child neared Santa to make his request.
It was six year-old Aidan Granquist who made it to Santa first, and next to him was his nine year-old brother Collin.
Afterwards, Aidan said he asked Santa for Legos and skis, adding he was good all year as he looked at his mother Mandy.