The decades old tradition of lighting the holiday tree in Santa Clara’s Central Park did not disappoint. Hundreds of people turned out to say hello to Teddy, who once again resumed his position atop the tree and watched community member Ana Vargas-Smith flip the switch to turn on the lights.
Vargas-Smith is a longtime community member with strong ties to Santa Clara. She graduated from Santa Clara High School and is the driving force behind bringing the Parade of Champions back to Downtown Santa Clara.
Prior to the tree lighting, the crowd was entertained by performances from local community groups. The Roberta Jones Junior Theatre Choir got attendees into the holiday spirit while the Santa Clara Dance Team showed off their holiday moves. There were also performances from the Santa Clara Portuguese Band and Sean Mendelson, a local music teacher who makes it an annual tradition to perform at the tree lighting.
Santa Claus also made a visit to the tree lighting event and took photos with families. The Santa Clara Fire Department played Santa as well, collecting donations for the department’s annual holiday toy drive.
The drive is still going on. You can drop off donations at any of the Santa Clara Fire Stations or at Fire Prevention at 1675 Lincoln Ave. Donations will be accepted through Dec. 22.
Sponsors for this year’s tree lighting included Silicon Valley Power, Santa Clara Swim Club, Santa Clara Parade of Champions, EdgeCore Digital Infrastructure, San Francisco 49ers, Patelco Credit Union, Chao Dental Studio and Santa Clara Police Activities League.
The tree lighting happens every year on the first Friday in December.
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