Garland tree lighting set for Dec. 7

By Chase Jordan - [email protected]

GARLAND — Community members are looking forward to a night of holiday spirit and fellowship.

The 6th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7 at Rotary Park in Downtown Garland. It’s being hosted by the Garland Community Action Committee.

“We are looking forward to it and we’ve been doing it for several years,” said member and town volunteer Sheila Smith. “It’s going to be very festive.”

Along with the tree lighting, some of the activities include caroling, story telling, contests, vendors and downtown shopping.Refreshments such as cupcakes, cookies, punch and eggnog will also be served.

Santa Claus will also make an appearance and take pictures with children. Event officials said Santa Claus is scheduled to visit Rotary Park on Saturday in December from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, Dec. 16 and Dec. 23.

Committee members will also collect gifts at a Toys for Tots, a program that distributes gifts to needy children.Wanda Hill Simmons of the Garland Community Action Committee also presented event details and other holiday initiatives such as Toys for Tots. It’s operated by the United States Marine Corps. Toys will be distributed in mid-December at the Town’s annex building.

“Many children in our community received toys last year with this Toys for Tots drive,” Simmons said. “This is a wonderful program and we encourage and trust that everyone will donate new toys so we can help put smiles on the faces of the children in our community.”

Committee leaders are now accepting entries for a trunk station contest. With a decorated trunk, participants will provide treats to children. The winner will get a prize. Adults my also enter in the town’s “Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest.” The first place contestant will be awarded.

The registration fee is $25. All vendors, carolers and sponsors of trunk stations must preregister by Tuesday, Dec. 5. On-site registration will not be accepted for vendors or stations. For safety reasons, merchants and contest participants must set up between 4 to 6 p.m. Late arrivals will not be accepted.

For more information about registration, contact Eleisa Walker, ugly Christmas sweater contest, 813-695-5375; Veronica Thomas, Christmas trunk station contest, 910-916-559; Sheila Smith, vendors, 910-385-5107; or Wanda Hill Simmons, ceremony program/caroling, 910-529-1304.

By Chase Jordan

[email protected]

The 6th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

Schedule of Events — Thursday, Dec. 7, Rotary Park

Event & Vendor Setup — 4 to 6 p.m.

Tree Lighting Ceremony — 6 to 6:30 p.m.

Santa Arrival — 6:30 p.m.

Christmas Trunk Contest — 7 p.m.

Ugly Sweater Contest — 7:15 p.m.