Tree-lighting ushers in Lansing’s holiday season
Before flipping the switch on the Mayor's Christmas Tree, Lansing Mayor Kenneth Bernard warned that one year he plugged in the tree and nothing happened.
That was not the case Sunday evening, though, as more than 100 Lansing residents joined Bernard and other officials in ushering in the holiday season with the 21st annual lighting of the Mayor's Christmas Tree, which is just north of Lansing City Hall at 800 First Terrace.
Before seeing the evergreen lit at the culmination of Sunday's event, guests were treated to performances by Lansing High School's Sound Spectrum Choir and Katie's Dance Studio in the warmth of Lansing Community Center.
Sound Spectrum, a group of 24 top choral performers, sang three holiday-themed songs, with solos by Dalton Stuart, Lauren Anderson, Monica Tate and Molly Kane, before ending with a rousing a cappella rendition of "Carol of the Bells."
"Everybody loves Christmas songs," said Jonnie Brice, the LHS choral instructor, noting the same songs would be sung at the winter concert at the high school on Wednesday, Dec. 12.
Local and state dignitaries were also on hand to take part in the festivities.
"On behalf of my wife, Joanne, and I, we'd like to wish you all a very merry Christmas," Kansas state Sen. Mark Gilstrap, D-Kansas City, said to those present. ": And I hope you can carry that spirit on throughout the rest of the year."
Well wishes were also received from Maj. James Reed with Fort Leavenworth's Garrison Commander Office, County Commissioner Clyde Graeber, Leavenworth Mayor Larry Dedeke, Easton Mayor Sherry Dodson, Lansing School Board President Shelly Gowdy, Robin Visocsky with the Lan-Del Water District, Leavenworth-Lansing Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Charlie Gregor and Lansing Correctional Facility Warden David McKune.
Donations for the Mayor's Christmas Tree Fund were then presented to John Bennett, chairman of Lansing PRIDE, co-sponsor of Sunday's event.
The fund will be used to purchase additional gifts for families being sponsored through the city's Angel Tree and will pay for grocery store gift certificates for those families.
So far, more than $4,000 has been raised, City Clerk Sunshine Petrone said Monday.
Monetary donations and nonperishable food items were received Sunday from Cub Scout Pack 3165, the Kiwanis Club of Lansing, the Lansing Community Club, the Lan-Del Water Department and various other civic organizations, area businesses and individuals.
Two Lansing youths, Cassie Pawlowski and Amanda Sellers, presented around $65 they and other friends raised through washing cars and asking neighbors for donations.
Bennett said donations are still being accepted at City Hall and at boxes put out by various merchants around town.
Petrone said all items must be in by Monday, Dec. 10, when city employees and members of Lansing PRIDE, the Kiwanis Club and the Lions Club will sort gifts out. The gifts will be distributed Dec. 14.
Bennett said of Sunday's event, "It's grown. I think it's the last hurrah for the community as a whole before we get locked in weather-wise : and for families to start talking about sharing with other families the real meaning of Christmas."