Tree lighting brightens the season

The An-O-Chords sing holiday tunes and Disney favorites at the base of the 30-foot downtown Christmas tree. - Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times
The An-O-Chords sing holiday tunes and Disney favorites at the base of the 30-foot downtown Christmas tree.
— image credit: Jenny Manning/Whidbey News-Times

Lights, Santa, action: Never mind the cold and drizzle, kids of all ages flocked to the festive downtown tree lighting ceremony Saturday to welcome Santa Claus upon his arrival in a pirate ship decorated with garland and Christmas lights.

Santa climbed down from the ship, calling “Merry Christmas,” and “ho,ho,ho,” as he made his way to the 30-foot tree, followed by an entourage of small children bundled against the cold.

Santa met Councilman Jim Palmer at the base of the tree, where he told the crowd that he’d been all over Oak Harbor to visit good boys and girls - and to check out Wal-Mart and Kmart.

His travels that night, he said, had taken a toll on his hardy, ho-ho-ho voice, but he remained quite jolly nonetheless.

And, of course, Santa led the great countdown, pooling the crowd’s holiday spirit to light the giant tree, topped with a bright, shiny star.

Following the tree lighting, Santa made his way to the Old Town Mall where he listened to children’s Christmas wishes and posed for photos.

The An-O-Chords barbershop chorus sang holiday classics in addition to a few Disney favorites such as Zippity Do-Da before Santa’s arrival, and could be spotted the rest of the night, wearing their red An-O-Chord jackets.

Five-year-old Ember Morrill, of Oak harbor, enjoyed one of the best viewing vanatage points by sitting atop her Mother Marlene’s shoulders.

This was Ember’s first time attending the downtown tree lighting, and she can hardly wait until Christmas.

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