AUBURN, Mass. – It was the coldest it has been all fall, but hundreds of residents braved the elements at Auburn’s first-ever tree lighting ceremony Friday. Even Santa Claus took a break from his busy schedule to make a stop in town.
About 200 people attended the Drury Square ceremony, which included caroling, free treats and a special appearance from Santa and his elf. The 55-foot-tall tree is located on the lawn beside the fire station/Goddard Park.
“What a wonderful community event. This really is the most wonderful time of the year,” Selectmen Chair Doreen Goodrich said. “The holidays are all about sharing old traditions and starting new ones, and I hope that you’ll all join me back here next year as we start this wonderful tradition of lighting the Christmas tree.”
The caroling was led by the Rev. Doug Geeze, pastor at Faith Baptist Church, and his son, Jonathon, who played guitar. They sang “Jingle Bells,” “Silent Night,” “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Here Comes Santa Claus,” among others. Santa led the countdown to the lighting and visited with children.
In addition, there were free treats, including hot cocoa, coffee and 300 cookies baked by culinary arts students from Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School.
“I’m overwhelmed by the turnout of people from the community,” said Kristen Pappas, Auburn’s director of recreation and culture. “It’s incredible in this first-year tradition that we’re starting. It’s awesome.”
State Rep. Paul Frost, R-Auburn, thanked the town of Auburn for putting the celebration together.
“This season is all about giving, loving and sharing,” Frost said. “We gather here as a community to celebrate Christmas and celebrate everything that is good about us as people. I want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, a Happy New Year. But most importantly, as we stand here, we get to light the Christmas tree.
“It is a Christmas tree, and we acknowledge that, and we share that,” Frost added. “We respect the fact that we are here for this very important season of Christmas, and we know there are other holidays that we also celebrate and acknowledge. And we thank the good people who celebrate those holidays and recognize them as well.”