WILLIAMSTOWN - About 200 residents Thursday night gathered to celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season during the 18th annual Williamstown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Because of the rain, the event was moved from the front lawn of the city building to the multipurpose room of the United Methodist Church at 304 W. Fifth St., about a block from the city building.
"I am sorry we had to make the tree lighting inside," Mayor Jean Ford told the crowd. "We just thought this would be nicer than standing outside in the rain."
Photo by Jolene Craig
Williamstown City Councilman Ron Erb and Pastor Elizabeth Campbell smile and clap with the 200 people at the 18th annual Williamstown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
A small artificial tree on a table in the open room was lit at the same time as the official tree at city hall.
"This year we will have two trees - this one and our real one out front of the city building," Ford said.
The real tree in the front of the city building, planted in 1997 for Christmastime events, was covered in white lights and decorations prior to Thursday's event.
Following the invocation by three area ministers, the Rev. Steven Gedon of the First United Methodist Church, pastor Elizabeth Campbell of the First Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Richard Heller of Christ Memorial Episcopal Church, the Williamstown Elementary School Choir performed "Silent Night" in German and another song for the crowd of families, neighbors and teachers.
The Wood County Christian School Choir performed "Christmas is No Time to Diet" and another traditional song to get the crowd in the mood of the season.
The Williamstown High School Marching band, with all members festively dressed with Santa Claus hats, played one song of the festive season as their color guard performed with gold pompoms.
Following their musical performance, the Williamstown High School Choir led the gathered crowd in a sing along of "Jingle Bells." After that, the Williamstown Elementary School Choir performed "Silent Night" in German before they led a second sing along of the traditional song.
While the invocation was performed by Gedon, Campbell and Heller, the benediction was overseen by the Rev. Steve DeLay of the Faith Bible Church and the Rev. Glenn Perry with First Baptist Church.
"We, in Williamstown, are known as a community of sharing and giving," said Ford. "This Christmas, open your doors to let your light shine throughout the community."
Refreshments of cookies, hot chocolate and coffee were provided by Tim Horton's following the event in the city council chambers.