After a year’s hiatus, Santa Clara’s annual tree lighting ceremony was back out in force in Central Park on Dec. 4. Hundreds of people attended the outdoor event, wearing masks and big smiles under those masks.
Marcella, who no longer lives in Santa Clara, brought her mother to the event. She says it brought back some great memories.
“We took my son when he was like a little toddler over to the one where the old police station was in the Civic Center. I still have the little teddy bear the police officers had the Santa Claus give,” said Marcella. “He loved that, and my mom would have to repair it a million times.
“My mom’s still here. So, it’s great to take her out after the pandemic and enjoy the show,” continued Marcella. “It’s just great when people are having fun, and everything comes together to make it a good event. It’s wonderful. The people are really nice here.”
Kristen says a stop at the snow play area was the first item on her kids’ list.
“We figured this would be a big attraction. So, we waited in line before it got too, too long,” said Kristen. “Yeah, it was a big attraction since there was no ice skating.”
5-year-old Hailey said the tree lighting was good, but she was most excited about meeting Santa.
8-year-old Aarya had a similar thought. He said playing in the snow area was fun, but meeting Santa was the big highlight of the night.
“I liked it when we took our photos,” said Aarya.
7-year-old Nandan was happy to tell Santa that he wanted a tablet for Christmas.
Both boys loved their new teddy bears.
“[My favorite part was] getting the teddy bear and meeting the police and the firefighters,” said Nandan.
The Mendelson family was happy to be out in the community.
“It’s nice to be able to be back in a crowd setting, feeling safe,” said mom Katie Mendelson. “[My daughter] just got vaccinated; she is fully vaccinated now, so it’s just nice to be back and feel the community vibe again.”
Daughter Jillian and son Logan say they enjoyed the performances. After the tree lighting, Jillian joined her dad Sean on stage to lead the crowd in a series of holiday songs.
“I’m excited to have the audience sing along. We’re doing all the songs everybody knows. So, hopefully, everybody in Santa Clara is going to be singing along with the songs,” said Sean, who runs Sean’s Music Factory.
While there was a slight hitch in the tree lighting—only one-half of the tree lit up at first—Santa’s elves jumped into swift action and got the full tree lit up in a matter of minutes.
You can view the tree lighting on Santa Clara Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page.