City celebrates holiday season with tree lighting

Staff Writer

On Sunday, November 28th, many children and parents gathered in front of Decatur’s Courthouse to celebrate the town's 23rd annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting event. 
    The event began at 4:30 p.m. in Storybrook Park with a reading of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. At this event was an appearance from Decatur’s very own Grinch and Cindy Lou Who. The two signature characters encouraged photographs with the crowd, putting smiles on many faces. 
    Courthouse events began at 5:00 p.m. with an incredible performance from Christmas carolers, who sang many Christmas classics. A popular appearance from Santa Claus was made, with many little ones excited to visit him. Candy Cane the 15 year old reindeer also made a special appearance with her trainer Joni Cripe. 
    Cathee Graves, originator of the Community Christmas Tree Lighting event, spoke at the ceremony. Graves expressed her deepest gratitude towards all those that made the event possible, explaining that without all the help from her family and community the event wouldn’t have been attainable. She also gave a special thanks to the City of Decatur for all they did throughout the event. 
Following Graves' kind words was a beautiful prayer given by Sue Baumann. The prayer spoke of good fortune and blessings towards the community. Baumann gave thanks to the Lord, and expressed the importance of being instruments in carrying love throughout the season. Baumann also asked the Lord for guidance, in the prayer, not only for the city of Decatur but for the entire nation, explaining the state of division it is in. 
    After the prayer everyone gathered as a countdown was held before the dazzling lights were turned on, lighting up the entire courtyard. Many cheered despite the bitter air, in celebration of the event, officially kicking off the beginning of the joyful Christmas season. 
    A reading of The Night Before Christmas was performed as many children gathered around to listen. Raffle tickets were being sold at the event for $1 each and near the end of the event they were read aloud, winners received children's toys and entertainment baskets. 
    Food and drink vendors were there to provide guests with delicious hot chocolate, hot apple cider, treat bags, cookies and other warm and festive cuisine. 
    The 23 annual Christmas Tree Lighting event was as popular as ever and seems to be a great family tradition to put guests in the holiday spirit.