Jackson Township residents crowded North Park on Saturday night to watch the annual tree lighting and enjoy hot chocolate, carols and a visit with Santa Claus. The Holiday in the Park ceremony has been an annual tradition in the township for over 15 years.
"We are lucky this year. The weather is warmer and the rain has stopped for now," said James Walters, trustee president.
Visitors to the ceremony gathered in a tent to sing traditional holiday songs and have their children visit Santa.
"This is our first year here and the kids are having a great time," said Perry resident Susan Connor, who was enjoying the festivities with her four children.
Co-sponsor Jennifer Clark, who has been coordinating this event for the last five years said, "This is planned and coordinated by the township and Crosspoint United Methodist Church. We really count on our volunteers and most years, we can expect about 300 to 500 people."
The very popular event also features performances by the Jackson High School Dance Group.
"We do this every year. The arts department at the high school includes the dance group and we get to perform at all kinds of township events," said Jackson High School sophomore Mackenzie Peterson.
After visiting Santa, enjoying a warm cup of hot chocolate and watching the dance group perform, participants gathered outside by the pond to officially light the Christmas tree. The crowd counted down and once the tree was lit, there was a big cheer.
"We will continue to have this event. It is our way of reaching out to the community and it is always a very popular night," said Clark.