Zephyrhills jumped right into the holiday season Monday night with its annual tree-lighting ceremony in front of the largest turnout in the history of the event at City Hall.
Presented by Main Street Zephyrhills, the event was pure Americana with the Zephyrhills High School Choir, Girls Scouts, ZHS cheerleaders, a foam machine and the guest of honor, Santa Claus.
“Santa!” screamed six-year-old Josh Lane of Zephyrhills when he saw the big guy in red. After giving Santa a hug, posing for some photos and getting a lollipop, he couldn’t contain his excitement. “My mom said he might be here. I can’t believe it.”
Seeing is believing.
The tree-lighting ceremony is a pre-cursor to Saturday’s big Festival of Lights Parade set to roll down Zephyrhills’ Fifth Avenue at 7 p.m. The other holiday festivities start downtown at 4 p.m.
“This is exactly what we anticipated,” said Main Street Director and Coordinator Antwon Gildon. “We wanted the city to come out and utilize our wonderful City Hall. It is amazing how many people are here. I can’t put into words how wonderful it is to see this many people down here.”
Gildon said the extra chill in the air helped usher in the Christmas season and the foam machine added the illusion of snow falling to the ground.
“This is Zephyrhills welcoming the holiday season,” Gildon said.