Despite Friday night's rainy weather, about three dozen spectators gathered for the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree in Slatington Memorial Park on Main Street.
The event, called "Holiday on Main", is presented as an effort to bring together community members for an evening of socializing and celebrating of the holiday season.
Gary Fedorcha, past president of the Greater Northern Lehigh Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the free event, said it helps to "kick off the holiday season".
Due to the inclement weather, guests first gathered in the fellowship hall of St. John's UCC Church on South Second Street. Among those in attendance were Slatington Borough Council President Daniel Stevens and Mayor Walter Niedermeyer.
At about 6:45 p.m., the group was moved outside to gather around the Christmas tree, located under the park's gazebo, and sing carols.
A few minutes later, sirens blared and Main Street was momentarily shut down as Santa Claus arrived on a Slatington Volunteer Fire Department truck. He joined in with the carol singing as the lights were lit."I think when they built the gazebo, this is exactly what we had in mind, to have a town square… (And) the gazebo is the perfect place now for the tree," said Kevin Schmidt, current president of the chamber.He said the chamber, in conjunction with the Future Focus, has been holding the tree lighting for a number of years, with the GNLCC donating the tree, lights and more.
Later indoors, guests were treated to more carols, such as "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year", sung by 10 members of the Northern Lehigh Freedom Chorus. Their leader, Anna Mary Milot, said they've been assisting at the tree lighting for several years now, adding that "We try to add a little cheer and music to the season."Guests also enjoyed hot chocolate and cookies provided by volunteers, including chamber members Bob and Nancy Treskot and Bechtel's Pharmacy, and the children were invited to chat with Santa.First-time attendee Barbara Scheirer said she came to "get in the Christmas spirit, hear the music and see Santa Claus… (and) it seems like everyone here is having a good time."
Unwrapped gifts were also collected for the Toys for Tots program.
The next upcoming chamber event is its "Wine Tasting Mixer" Tuesday at Blue Mountain Vineyards in New Tripoli.
Next May, the chamber will also hold its signature event, the 20th annual Spirit Award.