Girl Scout Troops 4029, 4045 and 4018 sing Christmas carols with people attending the Douglas Community Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on Friday, Nov. 29.
Story last updated at 12/4/2013 - 2:07 pm
The ground squished and crunched as people gathered in the cold dark around the Savikko Park Pavilion, with glimpses of light darting across the field.
An air of anticipation and excitement was building.
"Hail ye lads and lasses, " said the Rev. Cindy Roberts. "Come together as a community to honor Christmases past, Christmases future and Christmas itself."
Juneau Mayor Merrill Sanford spoke at the event, thanking the community for coming together.
"Thank you to each and every one of you for how giving you are," he said, citing three recent events where Juneauites went above and beyond in donating to help others - like disaster relief aid for the Philippines, meeting the coat drive need and donating food for the local hungry. "It makes my heart singe, the generosity of this community, and you do it every time."
Sanford flipped the switch and the Douglas Community Christmas Tree and two wreathes were lighted in a blaze of color, and will remain lit through Jan. 6.
Girls from Girl Scout Troops 4029, 4018 and 4045 were illuminated on the stage and began leading the gathering in song - particularly with "Oh Christmas Tree," and "Deck the Hall."
The event is coordinated by the Douglas Community United Methodist Church and the Douglas 4th of July Committee and has been going on for eight years. It was hosted at the church until three years ago, when the tree had to be taken down because of disease. A new one is growing, but for now the community celebrates in the park.
Susanne Williams, with the Douglas 4th of July Committee, said the event is fun for several reasons.
"Listening to the children sing carols, watching kids skate with Santa, but mainly hearing everybody cheer when the lights come on," she said.
They have no plans to expand the event - just keeping it simple.
"We hope people will come and take pictures," Williams said. "Early morning light or 3-4 in the afternoon would be ideal. If people want to come and sing or take pictures with their dog or favorite cat or goat that would be good. Or people could have a picnic and drink hot cocoa."
Maggie Ford also enjoys the ceremony.
"Just getting all the people together and seeing all the people," she said. "Seeing the little kids light up when the tree comes on. That's the neatest thing."
Both Ford and Williams hope people enjoy the tree this year.
Next door at the Treadwell Arena, children got to ice skate with Santa and his elves. The church provided treats of cookies and warm drinks.
Sarah Day is the editor of Capital City Weekly. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.