Bethlehem welcomes the holiday season with tree lighting ceremony

December 1, 2012 by  

For many people, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas and winter holiday season. Shoppers head out in droves to snag great deals on holiday gifts. The town of Bethlehem marked the official start of the holiday season not with shopping and sales, but with a tree lighting ceremony on November 24.

The Friday night event was presided over by John Callahan, the mayor of Bethlehem. This year’s ceremony was the 75th anniversary of the city celebrating itself as the ‘Christmas City’, the notion which was first developed by the area’s Chamber of Commerce.

Several trees were lit during the ceremony, with each donated by a different person or group. The Mayor’s Christmas tree, which is located at Payrow Plaza, was a donation from Bernard Spirk, while the Christmas City Tree, also at Payrow Plaza, was from Paul and Sandy Gillette. A third tree, the Hill to Bridge Christmas tree, was donated by Bob and Carol Shear. The work of a Bethlehem print company might yet help them to produce signs to label each tree.

During the tree lighting ceremony, third grade students from St. Ann‘s Elementary School and Miller Heights Elementary School joined the Mayor at the podium to help throw the switch to officially light the trees. Musical entertainment was provided by the a cappella group from Liberty High School and by the Bethlehem Catholic High School band.

The tree-lighting ceremony was attended by hundreds of Bethlehem area residents. Local news station, WFMZ, made use of the newly lit trees by filming the weather report in front of them.