Archive for Thursday, December 7, 2006

Holiday kickoff marks 20th year

December 7, 2006

The holiday season in Lansing officially kicked off this past weekend in song, dance, light and the spreading of goodwill.

Oh, and Santa Claus too.

An estimated 200 people turned out for the annual Mayor's Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Lansing Community Building.

Mayor Kenneth Bernard served as master of ceremonies for the event, which marked its 20th anniversary this year.

Bernard joked that in the first year of the event, the city had to borrow a tree for the ceremony, which was held at what then was the old St. Francis De Sales Catholic Church at First and Kay streets.

The event moved to the 4-H Building on De Soto Road before it landed in 1990 at City Hall, where a six-foot-tall pine tree had been planted. The tree has since grown leaps and bounds.

"Now the city staff is telling me they've got to get a new tree," Bernard said. "It's gotten too hard to get decorations on it."

Groups from Katie's Dance Studio treated audience members to two dance numbers, and Lansing High School's Sound Spectrum choir sang several numbers, including an a-cappella rendition of the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies."

Also participating in the event were children who had gathered earlier in the day at Lansing High School to make lanterns for the "Children Light the Way" parade into the Community Center, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts, who presented the colors.

Bernard asked the audience to remember the city's less fortunate and participate in the city's annual Angel Tree program.

"We have several families - more than ever this year - in need of special help and gifts," he noted.

Among the dignitaries at the event was Col. Stephen Boylan, who delivered holiday wishes on behalf of Lt. Gen. David Petraeus and the Fort Leavenworth community. Boylan reminded the audience of the sacrifices being made by U.S. troops this holiday season.

"I would ask you to remember those who can't be with us tonight or with their families over the holiday season," Boylan said.

Outside the center, Bernard said, "Let there be light," and then flipped a switch to illuminate the lights on the Mayor's Christmas Tree.

Shortly afterward, sirens started blaring from a Leavenworth County Fire District No. 1 fire truck. To the delight of many of the young children at the ceremony, the truck was carrying Santa Claus, who got out and waded into the crowd to pass out gifts to children.

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