One reporter shares her experience of the Central Park Tree Lighting

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The weather may have been cold, but the city of Santa Clara was warming up last Friday night at the fourth annual Central Park Tree Lighting. This event gives Santa Clara something similar to San Jose’s Christmas in the Park.

The Tree Lighting had a jolly atmosphere, with performances from the Buchser Middle School Band, Roberta Jones’ Junior Theatre and a local band, Entourage. These performances maintained the holiday spirit with the sound of Christmas music ringing throughout the park.

Vendors and booths selling food, activities and raffles–ranging from light-up toys to rice bowls–were scattered throughout the park. Representatives of clubs and organizations helped out at these booths, and the familiar faces made the Tree Lighting feel local and comfortable.

It isn’t Christmas without the man in red, and Santa Clara’s Parks and Recreation delivered. Parents and children gathered in a massive line to meet Santa, complete with craft tables nearby to keep impatient children occupied.

Soon after the massive tree in the middle of the park was lit for all to see, there was a fireworks show, which was mainly tame with sprinkles of big explosions in between smaller bursts of light. The fireworks were a neat and exciting touch to a smaller event, and it was likely a surprise for many attendees because the fireworks were not advertised.

One of the major draws to the event was the ice skating rink. The rink had three separate periods of discounted skating where visitors were given the opportunity to enjoy the rink for only $5. Sadly, this promotion made the area crowded and the line very long, causing some to be discouraged from enjoying the activity.

The Tree Lighting does not come close to the caliber of San Jose’s Christmas tradition. The small event, however, was family friendly and a fun, festive night. The Central Park Tree Lighting is still newer to the community and with time and improvements, it has the potential to become a tradition for Santa Clara families for years to come.

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