Oooh! Ahhh! Those were the last words heard from the crowd Saturday night as the Christmas tree lights went on for the first time.
The Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce sponsored the event, the first Christmas tree lighting in several years, at Dorothy Fielder Park. There were many moments of self-achievement and other moments of just being involved during the 30-minute festivities that preceded the lights having been turned on.
One of those personal achievements was for 7th-grader Ciara Almon, who was there to dance with her Fierce Motions in Dance friends. When she heard that Altha Fay McKinney had a medical emergency that prevented her from participating in the festivites, Ciara volunteered to lead “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Nervous though she was, Ciara accomplished the song and had the crowd singing along with her.
And those dancers with Fierce Motions, ages 3-14 years old, did a fine job with their performances. There were many cell phone videos taken of their “Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” dance, especially learned for this occasion.
The joy that the young children brought up to the gazebo every time they participated was contagious. The children gathered on the steps while Matt Nix, youth minister with a Melissa church, read the story of the Birth to them from a children’s Bible, led them in children’s Christmas songs and then let them get up close to the microphone for the 10-count countdown to get the lights turned on.
The entire celebration and ceremony were the cumulative efforts of the Keep Van Alstyne Beautiful, whose members decorated the park; the Van Alstyne Fire Department, several of whom strung the lights on the tree; the Public Works Department, who made sure all the electricity and such worked; the Community Development Corporation, which purchased all the tree lights; and of course, the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce, who sponsored the event.
Several people were asked, as they left, if this is an activity that should be repeated next year, and the resounding answer, from kids and adults alike, was ‘yes yes, yes.’ One person did suggest that the tree could use more lights, and several of the groups involved are already looking at a plan for that, said CDC Director Rodney Williams.