GARLAND — After children sung Christmas carols at Rotary Park, a fire truck with lights and sirens blazing captured their attention as it rumbled down the street.
With help from the Garland Volunteer Fire Department, Santa Claus stepped off the truck before he was greeted by Mayor Winifred Murphy. The arrival of the special guest from the North Pole was just one of many highlights from the 6th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting.
Murphy was pleased with the turnout, during a cold and rainy night. The event began with an opening ceremony and followed with singing, story telling and pictures with Santa. Attendees also enjoyed refreshments such as cookies, punch and other goodies.
“We’re very thankful and we want everyone to have a safe and joyous holiday,” Murphy said about the annual event which allows residents to fellowship during the holiday season.
The ceremony was hosted by the Garland Community Action Committee, an group of residents who organize events throughout the year. During the holiday season, the committee is also assisting the U.S. Marine’s Toys for Tots, which gives gifts to needy children. For Saturdays leading up to Christmas Eve, the community group is also inviting Santa to return from 1 to 3 p.m. Dec. 9, Dec. 16 and Dec. 23 at Rotary Park.
Volunteer Mary Smith felt the same way and said she was grateful to God for having a successful event for the community.
“The holidays are the times when we’re reminded of what’s most important in our lives,” Smith said. “It’s always good when a diverse community can come together and make things work. I would like to stress that God is Good.”
Volunteer Lydia Fryar shared the same sentiments as Murphy and Smith. She participated in the event with members of Girl Scout Troop 1552. During the event, Fryar expressed how it’s important for everyone to live together. For many, the Thursday ceremony was a special time for unity.
“I think it’s a blessing,” Fyar said.