PLAINVILLE - With the seasonâ€™s first snow on its way, Plainville welcomed the spirit of Christmas with its 25th annual tree lighting Friday night.
More than 100 residents gathered at Plainville Fire Department headquarters to listen to the Plainville High School Band and Chorus perform favorites including â€śDeck the Halls,â€ť â€śJolly old Saint Nicholas,â€ť â€śSilent Night,â€ť â€śHark! The Herald Angels Singâ€ť and â€śJingle Bells.â€ť
The Kids in the Middle Club from the Middle School of Plainville passed around hand-made songbooks to help people sing along. One young boy was particularly moved by the spirit of the season and jumped, pumped his fists and spun to each song.
Community leaders then took the stage to offer their seasonâ€™s greetings. The ceremony was led by state Rep. William Petit Jr., whose son, William, rode on his shoulders. Both wore Santa hats.
â€śI hope that these lights will represent positive things for our lives and for the town,â€ť said Petit. â€śI hope that they will also remind us to take care of the less fortunate.â€ť
Terri Battaglia of the Plainville Merchantsâ€™ Association, which organized the event this year, invited visitors to take part in a downtown stroll Friday and Saturday nights. Those who visited each business on the map would be entered in a drawing for prizes.
On Saturday, singers from the Kids in the Middle will be caroling along the downtown route, joined by students from Plainville High School.
â€śThis is probably one of my most joyful experiences as a member of the Town Council,â€ť Council Chairwoman Kathy Pugliese said. â€śDuring this holiday season, we are very fortunate to be able to spend time with friends and family and celebrate in good cheer. We also remember those who are no longer with us and those who are struggling.â€ť
Pugliese encouraged people in attendance to check in on those going through a hard time. She also urged support for Bread for Life.
â€śI wish everyone a very merry Christmas and prosperous, healthy and happy New Year.â€ť
Town Manager Robert E. Lee said he was glad to come out and â€śsee so many smiling facesâ€ť among the crowd.
â€śThis is one of many events in our community where people really come together,â€ť he said. â€śI am proud to work for the betterment of this community and I wish everyone a merry Christmas and a happy holidays and New Year.â€ť
Lee also encouraged people to participate in the holiday stroll and support the businesses he called the backbone of the community.
Fire Chief Kevin Toner and Police Lieutenant Eric Peterson also spoke, urging safety this holiday season. Toner emphasized caution, while Peterson warned against drinking and driving.
School Superintendent Maureen Brummett told how, leading up to the holiday season, schoolchildren had raised money for hurricane relief efforts.
A pajama day in the schools, she said, was also dedicated to remembering children at the Connecticut Childrenâ€™s Medical Center.
After praising the students for their efforts, she led the crowd in singing â€śJingle Bellsâ€ť and then introduced Noah Olson, a student at Toffolon Elementary School.
After wishing everyone a merry Christmas, he flipped a switch and turned on the town Christmas tree.
Noah then called for Santa Claus, who arrived soon after, driving a town firetruck. Children ran to see him and were led inside to enjoy apple cider and cookies while sharing their Chirstmas lists with him.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Brian Johnson on Twitter @brianjohnsonbp.