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“Embracing the Community”: Park Ridge Annual Tree Lighting

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Holiday cheer filled the air in Depot Square at Park Ridge’s Annual Tree Lighting. Colorful lights hugged the town tree, just as family and friends embraced in anticipation for the lighting. With complimentary hot chocolate, popcorn, candy canes, and musical performances, it was easy to feel a strong sense of community. Despite the hundreds that filled Depot Square, it became clear that everyone has their own unique reason to find the town tree lighting special.

The main attraction is, of course, the lighting of the Christmas tree and Frosty the Snowman. Each year, the opportunity to light Frosty and the tree is raffled off. For eighth grader Sarah Santiago, the tree lighting is “very exciting because you never know who is going to light the tree. [Everyone] wants to light it.” Kids grasp their tickets with anticipation as the winners are picked out of a hat.

The lighting of the tree and Frosty is a great experience, but it would not be the same without the musical stylings of the Park Ridge Mini-Maestros. The Mini Maestros, a school-run program consisting of middle schoolers, provided a performance of traditional holiday songs featuring “Jingle Bell Rock”, “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”, “Frosty the Snowman”, and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.” Lilly LaRocca, a student director of the Mini Maestros, was only a few months old when she attended her first tree lighting. She later reflected, “it’s nice to see the whole town come together as a community.”

The lighting of the Park Ridge’s “magnificent” tree is a grand spectacle to see. Senior Noah Santiago enjoys “[seeing] everyone you know, all your friends all your family in one spot [and watching] the tree [and snowman] light up”.

The town tree lighting was definitely a sight to see. Well after the main event, families and friends surrounded the tree chatting. It is not just the act of lighting up the tree and Frosty that brings the town together, but rather the bonds friends and families share throughout the community.

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“Embracing the Community”: Park Ridge Annual Tree Lighting