It was beginning to look and feel a lot like Christmas.

Residents and visitors braved a bracing wind chill and the season's first light snow flakes to enjoy Lansford's "Christmas in the Park" celebration Saturday. The Rev. Jeremy Benack, pastor of Grace Community Church, started the evening with a prayer. Next Rene Slakoper, a member of the Lansford Improvement Committee, got the honor of lighting the five towering evergreens.

The tree lighting hadn't been held for several years, but with the help of a $15,000 Department of Community and Economic Development grant and the backing of dozens of volunteers, the town was able to revive the annual tradition. Once the holiday lights gleamed in the trees, members of the Panther Valley band and chorus entertained the crowd with seasonal favorites, such as "Joy to the World," "Silent Night" and "Jingle Bells."

Beth Zellner, Coaldale, shepherded a group of youngsters who avidly watched the band play. The group also enjoyed hot chocolate and snacks, donated by Boyer's IGA and served by volunteers.

The sirens of approaching fire trucks announced the impending arrival of Santa, to the delight of the crowd. Volunteers set up a recliner inside the gazebo, and a line of youngsters formed to tell Santa their Christmas wishes.