Story by Kristina Hoti
A large group gathered on Fri., Dec. 7 in front of the Florida Village Hall, in anticipation of the annual Tree Lighting. The event got underway when buses arrived from Golden Hill Elementary School carrying second grade chorus and band students, who filled the front porches of the Village Hall building to regale the crowd with traditional Christmas songs.
Kristin Risedorph, Golden Hill Elememtary School music teacher, and William Couture, Golden Hill band teacher, put together a full program of merriment which was enjoyed by all. The second-grade chorus kids, under the direction of Risedorph, all very festively sported holiday “flair,” most wearing Santa hats, reindeer antlers, and candy cane or Christmas tree headbands.
“I love working in Florida. Times like this when the whole town comes together, it really feels like a Hallmark Christmas movie!” said Risedorph.
Parents and siblings of the students performing were very cheerful on the cold evening and gathered close to the front steps to ensure a great view and good access for taking photos and videos of the performances. The second-grade chorus kicked off the music with Jingle Bells, followed by Santa Claus is Coming to Town, then Let It Snow.
Couture gave a short introduction for his students, saying, “This is the second coldest one of these I’ve ever done and these kids are doing this without gloves. Let’s give them a round of applause!”
He showed the crowd that he had gone without gloves as well, “so I won’t be a hypocrite!”
After more entertainment from the band students and again from the chorus, sirens could be heard from across town, and the children started up a chant of “SAN-ta! SAN-ta!” A fire truck came up Main St., lights and sirens flashing, bearing Santa and Elmo waving to the families gathered. The caroling continued, with Santa and Elmo joining the festivities, which culminated in the count-down to the lighting of the enormous tree, which towers over the Village Hall.
Children enjoyed a meet-and-greet and photos with Santa and Elmo, and hot cocoa and candy canes were served inside Village Hall.