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Beginning the Season

Chesapeake hosts tree lighting

CHESAPEAKE —  Santa Claus arrived at Triangle Park in Chesapeake, as the village kicked off the Christmas season with its annual tree lighting celebration.

The event, sponsored by the Chesapeake Area Citizens Coalition, began with a performance of the Chesapeake High School Elite Choir, conducted by music teacher Bethany Himes.

After leading the group of about 10 students through several songs, Himes then brought out third graders from Chesapeake Elementary who sang holiday numbers such as “Jingle Bells” and “Children, Go Where I Send Thee.”

As the group was finishing their final song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” a village fire truck arrived, carrying Saint Nick.

Former mayor Dick Gilpin, of the CACC, then addressed the children.

“Are you ready for Santa?” he said. “On three, I want you to yell ’Merry Christmas!’”

As the children replied, the lights on the village Christmas tree and others in the park were lit, and Santa disembarked from the truck as the children chanted his name.

Following the lighting, the children were able to get photos with Santa, while the CACC served hot chocolate in a nearby tent.

Gilpin said the CACC has been conducting the tree lighting event for more than 20 years. They originally would bring in a tree each year, but, about 10 years ago, planted a small pine, which has since grown into the full size tree now used.

Himes said Chesapeake students will be bringing the holiday cheer to two more events.

The elementary school will host a Christmas show at 6 p.m. on Dec. 8, while the high school choir and children’s choir will perform at the high school at 3 p.m. on Dec. 11.