NEW BRITAIN - A little rain earlier in the day didnâ€™t stop hundreds of people from celebrating the holiday season Tuesday evening during the cityâ€™s annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.
Hayden Dupree, 4, helped Mayor Erin Stewart flip the switch on the 40-foot-tall tree in Central Park before declaring â€śmerry Christmasâ€ť to a crowd of children eager to meet Santa Claus.
Gerry Amodio, executive director of the Downtown District, said some organizers believe this yearâ€™s event drew a bigger crowd than last yearâ€™s, even with the rain, which returned briefly after the lighting. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, he said.
â€śThe kids have been great,â€ť Amodio said.
School Superintendent Nancy Sarra and the school districtâ€™s chief operations officer, Paul Salina, expressed happiness that the rain had stopped before the celebration.
â€śSantaâ€™s magic,â€ť Sarra joked.
DJ Maciah â€śMDotLiveâ€ť Clark provided holiday tunes along with the Main Street Childrenâ€™s Choir, and the YWCA Dance Club performed a dance medley from its Christmas show.
Businesses in the Main Street area came to the celebration to help out. Complimentary hot chocolate and Dunkinâ€™ Munchkins, donated by Dunkinâ€™ Donuts on Main Street, werehanded out. TD Bank got in on the Christmas spirit, too, distributing elf hats to children and their families.
After children waited in line to meet Santa and ask him for presents, St. Nick gave each a small stuffed animal to take home.
â€śI asked him for the new Pokemon game,â€ť said Elijah Torco, 8. â€śHe got me one last year, but I want the new one.â€ť
Some children were determined to get their wish granted this Christmas, including 7-year-old Sandra Daniels, who wants a dog.
â€śI asked Santa for one last year, but didnâ€™t get one,â€ť Sandra said. â€śI want to name her Ellie.â€ť
Skyler Frazer can be reached at 860-801-5087 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Skyler Frazer on Twitter @SFrazerNBH.