Tree-lighting added to McKeesport's opening night
The Festival of Trees opened with an outdoor tree-lighting ceremony as Santa rode into Renziehausen Park on a McKeesport fire truck.
“Welcome to the 27th annual Festival of Trees and our very first tree-lighting ceremony,” Mayor Michael Cherepko said Thursday, outside the Jacob Woll Pavilion. “A few weeks ago, we hosted a holiday parade to kick off the holiday season in McKeesport. We have with us today our queen and princess, who were crowned that day.”
As festival-goers awaited the arrival of Santa Claus, the city's Salute to Santa queen Sarah Roka, representing the Joey-O Foundation for Autism Awareness, and princess Maia Rhodes, representing the NAACP McKeesport Unit, lit a tree in Renziehausen Park with Girl Scouts from Daisy Troop 58112 leading the crowd in Christmas carols.
Girl Scout Elizabeth Swanger, whose family enjoys Christmas traditions nearly year round, said she was thrilled to be part of Thursday's program and the festival as a whole.
“You get to decorate a tree,” she said. “That's the best part.”
Attendees and city officials agreed the tree-lighting ceremony was a fitting way to open the festival.
“This is a community tree, and it highlights the importance of getting out and spending the holiday season together,” recreation board member Cheryl Cotter said.
McKeesport recreation director Jim Brown said it was exciting to kick off the festival with something new.
“It's a great idea,” Brown said. “This is something that we should have started sooner. It's a different way to get people involved in such a great event. We have more trees than ever this year, and they're all so pretty.”
With nearly 80 trees on display, the Festival of Trees will continue through Monday from noon to 9 p.m. Santa will be on-site each day from 12:30-4:30 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Admission is $2 for adults, and children attend at no charge with the donation of a canned good.
“With such a slow economy, the Festival of Trees is a good way to lift your spirits,” chairwoman Pat Harris said. “We've had so many people here today, so many children. There were more than 100 students from the schools here before 5:30.”
Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- White Oak seeks funds to stabilize road
- McKeesport Area students share views during Black History Month panel talk
- Steel Valley to post teacher, administrator salaries online
- Munhall resident pleads guilty but mentally ill for killing his mother
- Crowd demands answers from Steel Valley directors over playoff eligibility controversy
- Duquesne Elementary School students join the ranks of junior constables
- Clairton City School District seeks savings in food service management
- McKeesport incident among derailments that prompt Casey to push ‘crude-by-rail’ rule
- Elizabeth Forward action to raise some school lunch prices
- McKeesport Area principal, 8 others take retirement offer
- Duquesne police arrest suspect in robbery, get warrants in assault