The City of Shafter held its annual Tree Lighting Ceremony on Monday night, lighting up the night downtown in the gazebo area.
Mayor Cathy Prout welcomed the crowd, and, with assistance from Shafter's Distinguished Young Woman Faith Bazaldua, lit up the Christmas trees surrounding the gazebo. Also on hand at the event were representatives of the Shafter Library and Learning Center, giving away books and information about their for students and adults.
Refreshments including hot cocoa and cookies were provided, and music was performed by the GROW Academy choir and church groups throughout the city.
As the crowd counted down, Prout and Bazaldua prepared to light up the trees, giving the downtown area a festive atmosphere, aglow with lights from the trees.
Bazaldua also performed, along with the Shafter Family Theater, accompanied by pianist Guillermo Martinez from Richland Junior High.
Of course, no Christmas tree lighting would be complete without an appearance from St. Nick himself. Santa Claus was there to take pictures with the children, taking requests from the children on what they wished for at Christmas time.
Shafter Animal Control gave out stuffed animals to the children, and GROW Academy's 8th grade class was there selling cups of hot chocolate for their upcoming trip to Washington, D.C.
"This was a great event. I can remember coming to Tree Lighting events growing up, bundling up in the cold weather, singing songs and sipping cocoa as they lit up the tree," said Amanda Porthouse, who was there with her three children. "This makes living in a small town just that more special," she said.
Angel Jimenez and Miguel Flores provided the music and sound for the event.