Despite wet streets and some scattered rain, Downtown Sunnyvale’s tree lighting ceremony went off without a hitch on Saturday, Dec. 7.
“It went well considering the weather,” said Mike Johnson, the Executive Director of the Sunnyvale Downtown Association. “We had over 200 people show up. Unfortunately, it’s usually about 700 or 800, but considering the weather, it was a good crowd. We had great participation.”
It’s a tradition that is now in it’s 21st year on Historic Murphy Avenue and the rain wasn’t going to stop it.
“Once we recognized there was an issue, we just had to Plan B.,” said Johnson. “We had to completely pivot the whole event. Normally, we’d have the stage and [the Fremont High School and Columbia Middle School choirs] would be standing on the stage and singing with their families…They just sang in little clusters of people under the tents and in the area and invited everyone to sing along.”
Unfortunately, Plan B prevented the scheduled performance by Dance Attack.
“It was just too difficult to have them dancing in the street,” said Johnson.
But other than that, the show did go on and Johnson knew that a little rain wouldn’t stop some people from showing up.
“They didn’t care. The people that came, they came because they support the downtown — 21 years of holiday tree lighting,” said Johnson.
Local businesses also added to the festive atmosphere. A local State Farm agency provided cookies for decorating, event sponsor VUDU provided hot chocolate and local business KTea Café provided fresh whipped cream.
But the big highlight was Santa Claus, who rode into town on a Sunnyvale fire truck instead of his custom sleigh. Once he arrived, he took pictures with all the attendees.
“We put a tent over the top…so that there was a place dry for Santa,” said Johnson.
The tent kept Santa Claus dry during his visit and even though the picture-perfect scene of Santa in front of the tree was marred by a large tent, visitors didn’t seem to mind. Dozens of them lined up to take pictures with St. Nick.
Johnson promises those photos will be up on the Downtown Association’s website soon. They will be up on the site until Dec. 31, 2019.
“We brought all the forces together and made it fun,” said Johnson.