Large turnout for tree lighting ceremony during rainstorm

December 12, 2018 — by Kayene Morrison

Tree lighting ceremony attended by the mayor, the Saratoga Youth Commission and choir students from Marshall Elementary School

On the day after Thanksgiving, the 17th annual tree lighting took place in Blaney Plaza in downtown Saratoga. In the late afternoon, the square was packed with people in raincoats and holding umbrellas to protect themselves from the rainstorm that had begun earlier that day.

City clerk Debbie Bretschneider attributed the large turnout to advertising the city did on its website, Facebook page and Twitter feed.

The ceremony began with the mayor, Mary-Lynne Bernald, addressing the crowd, followed by a performance by the Marshall Lane Elementary School choir. This year, a high-quality sound system with microphones and speakers broadcast the singing along with keyboard accompaniment.

After the performance, the Christmas tree, which was planted three years ago after the previous one was hit by a car and now stands roughly 20 feet tall, was lit. However, there were some technical difficulties, possibly due to the weather.

“Unfortunately we had a little issue with electricity and the lights kind of flickered a little bit, but the tree lit up, and that’s what’s important,” Bretschneider said.

As in the past, the Saratoga Youth Commission attended the event and passed out free hot chocolate to audience members.

“It was pouring down rain that night, yet so many people still came out,” said junior Mary Elizabeth Miller, one of the Youth commissioners. “And passing out hot cocoa, it was so much fun to see the kids’ faces and how happy they were.”

Bretschneider agreed that the event was a success.  

“As one of the people who helped organize it, it’s great when it all works out,” she said. “We have a really nice big tree now, and it’s pretty spectacular when it’s lit.”