Weather doesn’t spoil tree lighting
Frigid temperatures Sunday reaching into the low 20s did not keep nearly 200 people from attending the 19th annual Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting at City Hall.
After a Christmas program in the Lansing Community Center, Mayor Kenneth Bernard flipped the switch shortly after 6 p.m. outside City Hall to illuminate the more than 30-foot-tall tree with multicolored lights. Immediately after the lighting, Santa Claus arrived on a fire truck and gave candy to the children before everyone was invited back inside for hot chocolate and cookies.
Prior to the lighting, nearly 50 children and their parents attended the Children Light the Way craft-making event, which began at Lansing High School. The school's commons area was converted into a workshop for the children to make paper lanterns and pose for pictures with Santa Claus.
However, due to the cold and the large number of participants, the Children Light the Way parade was canceled, and the group instead drove to City Hall rather than walk the 20-minute route.
The event, in its second year, is sponsored by the Lions Club and was coordinated by Vicki Sperl. She adapted the event for the Lansing community after learning about St. Martin's Day, a German festival in November where children make paper lanterns and parade through the town.
"I thought it would be nice to get more families and children out to the lighting ceremony and to really make it the kickoff of the Christmas season in Lansing," Sperl said.
The Children Light the Way group was the first to enter the Community Center for the Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting program. Children with lanterns sat on either side of the aisle while Lansing Cub Scout Pack No. 3165 presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Lansing High School's Sound Spectrum choir, led by director Jonnie Brice, performed "Jingle Bells," "Feliz Navidad," and "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree."
Bernard greeted the audience and reminded them of the Mayor's Angel Tree, in place in the lobby of City Hall, which supports local families with food and gifts for Christmas.
He then introduced the distinguished guests, which included State Sen. Mark Gilstrap, D-Kansas City, Kan., who wished the audience a "Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year." Tonganoxie Mayor David Taylor and Leavenworth Mayor Lisa Weakley also gave holiday greetings.
John Bennett, from Lansing PRIDE, received gifts for the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund from Girl Scout Troop 474, a $100 check from the Lansing Community Club and a $300 check from the Lansing Lions Club.
Sperl then announced the results of the Lions Club Cookie Contest and presented Tristan Lilly, a first-grader at Lansing Elementary School, with first place for his family Ginger Snap cookie recipe. Second place went to Debbie Kirby, who entered her Peanut Blossom cookies; Catherine Grote and Catherine Martin took third place for their Raspberry Pecan cookies. Joshua and Kristen Russell were awarded an honorable mention for the Ice Pumpkin cookies.
Ginger Snap Cookies
by Tristan Lilly
3/4 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup light molasses
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
Cream sugar and shortening. Stir in beaten egg and molasses. Mix in dry ingredients. Roll into balls. Roll in sugar. Press with fork. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.