Members of the Harlem Middle School Chorus sing Christmas carols at the lighting of Harlem's Christmas tree in front of Harlem City Hall. Spectators braved near-freezing temperatures to watch the lighting.
Photo by Jim BlaylockDaniel Hutto, 3, anxiously waited for "Ho-Ho" to arrive at the annual Grovetown tree lighting ceremony Friday evening. He wanted to make sure it was clear that he wanted a motorcycle for Christmas so he can "ride it and go fast," he said.
Daniel's grandparents, Lee and Rita Westfall, of Grovetown, brought him to the tree lighting so he could make his wishes known to the man himself.
But Daniel was more amazed by the extensive light display covering the City of Grovetown Senior Center, fire station Number 2, the gazebo and Grovetown Museum at the corner of West Robinson Avenue and Old Wrightsboro Road.
"He can't say a word," Mr. Westfall said of Daniel as hundred of Grovetown residents counted down to the illumination of each display.
Residents enjoyed holiday tunes from the small, but talented, Grovetown Middle School band, and hot chocolate and cookies to help battle the chilly weather.
No one knows for sure how long the holiday ceremony has been going on.
"I have served here for 16 years and it has been done every year since I have been here," Mayor Dennis Trudeau said. "It has been growing every year."
The mayor, city council members, county commissioner Mark Devoti and State Sen. Joey Brush, briefly spoke at the ceremony and all mentioned how proud they are to be a part of Grovetown.
"There is nothing like this anywhere around," emcee and councilman David Daughtry said. "If you want to see Christmas, Grovetown is the place to be."
As tradition set, the evening was closed with a group song, Silent Night.
Harlem's tree lighting ceremony, was not as traditional, but well worth braving Thursday's near freezing temperatures.. Hundreds of Harlem residents crowded the front lawn of City Hall to watch Miss Harlem Kristy Thigpen flip the switch illuminating the huge Christmas tree.
Most people shivered and huddled close to each other as they enjoyed the choruses of North Harlem Elementary and Harlem Middle schools belt out holiday classics such as Frosty the Snowman and Jingle Bell Rock.
"It makes it seem more like caroling," said Leslie Lowe, who came prepared for the cold with her thermos of hot chocolate.
After the ceremony, children lined up to sit on Santa's lap and reveal their Christmas wishes.
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