Penn Hills kicks off holiday season at Frankstown location for last time
Penn Hills residents young and old joined one last time Thursday on Frankstown Road for a traditional holiday celebration that included caroling and the lighting of the municipal Christmas tree.
Light Up Night drew around 100 residents — and Santa Claus — on a damp evening outside the municipal building that by next year will be replaced by a complex being built on Duff Road.
"Lord willing, by next year, we'll be at the new municipal building," said outgoing Deputy Mayor J-LaVon Kincaid to the bundled-up residents. "I know a lot of you are looking forward to that."
Kincaid led the crowd in a countdown to reveal the several illuminated trees, wreaths, reindeers, nutcrackers and snowmen.
Penn Hills is ready for Christmas after the annual lighting of the tree and decorations outside the municipal building. Story soon! pic.twitter.com/zbgFYwEi0U— Dillon Garrett Carr (@dillonswriting) December 1, 2017
The crowd cheered and sang carols with the Penn Hills High School choral ensemble while standing among the colorful decorations on the lawn of the municipal building.
Before the line formed inside to see Santa, he was ushered into town on a fire truck as residents sang "Santa Claus is Coming to Town."
"Sing it loud, boys and girls, or he won't hear you," Kincaid said, and children in the crowd responded enthusiastically.
The municipality started the tradition of decorating the municipal building and kicking off the holiday season about 25 years ago, officials said. But for resident Lonnita Hutchinson, this year marked her first.
Hutchinson and her family recently moved to Penn Hills from Crafton. She and her son, Ahren, 3, and daughter, Aleigha, 7, waited inside the municipal building to see Santa. Her children, with their mouths full of frosted cookies, gave emphatic nods when asked if they will be back next year.
"This was fun – a good way to start off the season," Hutchinson said.
For 22-year resident Desiree Palombo, Light Up Night is a family tradition that she plans continue next year at the municipality's new digs. Her favorite part of the celebration is the caroling before and after the building and grounds are lit up with decorations.
"It just brings the family together," she said.
Dillon Carr is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-871-2325, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @dillonswriting.