There was plenty of Christmas spirit in Lehighton Friday night!

As the Lehighton Band played seasonal music and Girl Scouts doled out cups of hot chocolate, Santa climbed from the platform of Lehighton Fire Department's aerial truck. Immediately, he was swarmed by children who gave him hugs and wish lists.

Hundreds of people attended Christmas in the Park, an event in the Lehighton Park Amphitheater. Lehighton Mayor Donald Rehrig said it was the largest turnout he has ever seen in the borough for the Santa visit.

The appearance by Santa was sponsored by the Lehighton Council of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce.

Santa turned the switch to officially light the borough Christmas tree. He also handed out candy canes to children.

Members of various Scout troops, including Girl Scout Troop 3349 of St. Matthew's Church, Franklin Township, and Daisy Troop 83 of Mahoning Township, decorated the tree with edible ornaments. They included orange shells filled with bird seed and rice cakes, all food for birds and squirrels which are often seen in the park.

Cocoa was served by Lehighton Senior Girl Scout Troop 3583 of Lehighton, under the direction of Geraldine Haas.

The girls ran out of hot chocolate, necessitating a quick trip to a grocery store for more powder.

"That's the first time that ever happened," said Haas, noting it was because of the large turnout of people.

Children who came to the event were given a ticket making them eligible for a number of prizes, including two bicycles.

The Lehighton Band, under the direction of Paul Smith, played a variety of selections, from such fun songs as "Here Comes Santa Claus" to the more serious, like "Silent Night."

"It's a fantastic turnout," said Mayor Rehrig. "I'm well pleased."

He said one of the attributes for the fine attendance was the weather.

"It's not real cold," he said.

"It's a great crowd," said Grant Hunsicker, president of Lehighton Borough Council. "It's always a good program" by the local chamber unit.