Several hundred children and adults ushered in the holidays on Friday evening during the Christmas in the Park event held in the upper park bandshell in Lehighton.
The event was sponsored by Lehighton Area Council of the Carbon County Chamber of Commerce and Lehighton Downtown Initiative Committee (LDIC).
As park visitors enjoyed cups of hot chocolate served by Senior Girl Scout Troop 583, the Lehighton Band played a variety of Christmas musical selections. But it was Santa Claus arriving on a fire truck, courtesy of Lehighton Fire Department, that was the highlight of the event.
After flipping the switch to light the Christmas tree, Santa visited with the children, handing out candy canes and posed for family photographs. The tree was decorated by the many Brownie and Girl Scout Troops attending the event.
Bicycles were presented to nine lucky children. Winners were Timothy Reichard, Olivia Hill, Michael Miller, Ally McGinley, Aric Fox, Kali Dennis, Hannah Christman, Evan Deem and Connor McClure.
Children's books were also donated by the Lehighton Area Memorial Library and musical recorders were offered by Carbon County Music and More.
Others gifts, including ones to children age 12 and under, were also provided by anonymous donors.
Financial and prize sponsors for the event included Lehighton Downtown Initiative Committee, Beltzville Lions Club, Lehighton Hardware, Pure Beauty Lounge, Castle Grill, state Rep. Doyle Heffley's office, Care Givers America and Wal-Mart.
Frank Potoczak said that this year the event was coordinated by LDIC and LAC CCCC, but that he plans to take over the reins and make it bigger and better every year.
"I believe that making the community a better place and helping other local businesses will help grow my business," he said. "I want to make this event bigger and better every year so that every child who attends will receive a prize."
Potoczak said that he is not sure how he will proceed, but he said he hopes to also turn the event into a giving back event for those attending, by accepting food donations for the needy at the event next year.