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The Suburbanite
  • Springfield lights community Christmas tree

  • Residents greeted Santa on Dec. 7 for the community Christmas tree lighting at the Vince Mealy Bicentennial Gazebo.

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  • Residents greeted Santa on Dec. 7 for the community Christmas tree lighting at the Vince Mealy Bicentennial Gazebo.
    Santa, who usually arrives by train, lit the tree and then led residents on a walk to the fire station where he spoke with a line of children.
    Community policing officer Perry Linaburg said the event is a time for kids and families to have fun and has come a long way in 10 years.
    “The first year we had it, which I think was 10 years ago, it was so cold the fire department had to hang up plastic sheets around the pavilion. We had generators running to try to keep it warm,” Linaburg said. “I had no idea whether anyone would come or not. About 5:45, we saw headlights coming from both directions. It was a big turnout. The first one was such a thrill to see that many people come out. We had face painting, hot cocoa, it was fun.”
    The traditional live tree started out by the pavilion and was moved closer to town hall on the lake. Tree lightings were held there.
    “Once we had the beautiful gazebo, we thought it would be nice to do the lighting here,” Linaburg said.
    A few years ago, Lighthouse Pools on Arlington Road donated an artificial tree to stand in the center of the gazebo.
    “It is always a fun time,” Linaburg said. “We look forward to it every year.”