EL CENTRO — The night was cold, the atmosphere merry, the songs cheerful, and the lights burned bright as the city of El Centro kicked off the Christmas season with its annual tree lighting ceremony Friday, December 2.
Hundreds of Valley residents flocked to El Centro’s Main Street, in front of the El Centro Police Department, to enjoy a night of holiday cheer, despite the chilly 55-degree weather. Families were welcomed to visit local vendors and enjoy delicious hot chocolate and food while listening to favorite Christmas tunes played by various Valley school orchestras.
The event’s main attraction was the lighting of the city Christmas tree, followed by a special visit by Santa Claus, who greeted happy and excited children who took their pictures with him, and told him what they wanted for Christmas.
El Centro city councilwoman, Cheryl Viegas-Walker, was in attendance and was overjoyed by the sight of all the families and members of the community who came to the event.
“For me, I love to see the interaction with the children and their parents, and the parents having the opportunity to see their children perform or dance,” said Walker.
“And probably my absolute favorite is to see the children get so excited with Santa arriving. That just never gets old. Every year, it really renews my spirit to see children so excited.”
Imperial resident, Tasha Robles, and her sons, Luis and Bryan, were one of many families that anticipated seeing the tree light bright, and meeting the jolly old St. Nicholas in person. Robles has attended the tree lighting in El Centro for the past four years.
“We appreciate seeing the lighting of the Christmas tree and seeing all the events from the younger students, high school, or middle school, and their performances that they do,” said Robles.