The forecast called for rain and strong winds. And the threat of inclement weather had its effect, making this year‘s crowd much, much smaller than usual.
But Santa Clara‘s Parks and Recreation Department showed their resourcefulness, presenting a modified program to ensure the 109th Annual Holiday Tree Lighting would still be a fun time for those who braved the weather.
While Teddy has a weatherproof spot on top of the tree, the rest of the celebration wasn’t quite so impervious to the weather. The wind forecast forced cancellation of the fireworks show. Food and information booths were scaled back, with food booths outside the Community Recreation Center (CRC) and information and vendor booths inside.
Even Santa changed his itinerary. Instead of his familiar spot near the tree, Santa and his workshop — filled with kids’ activities and the chance to sit on Santa’s lap — moved into the CRC theater.
The ice skating rink was still open but conditions were monitored closely in case they warranted closing it. But despite the ominous forecasts, the storm held off and the evening passed with only a few light drizzles.
Even with things scaled back, six-year-old Santa Clara resident, Prakash, declared “This is the best time ever!” when asked his thoughts about the evening.
Despite other changes, the show went on at the outside stage; featuring performances by the Buscher Middle School Jazz Band, Laya’s Art Collective and the Santa Clara Performance and Elite Dance Team, with Miss Santa Clara as the host for the evening.
The role of Honorary Tree Lighter fell to the family of Bill Shaddle, who passed away on Aug. 19. Shaddle was a long-time community volunteer.