PICTOU — It was a festive time in three towns on Friday night as the annual Christmas tree lighting events were held.
Several hundred people gathered in downtown Pictou for the parade leading to other events at Market Square.
Sandy Mackay was master of ceremonies for the event that included remarks by Mayor Jim Ryan as well as several readings and music before the program ended with the tree lighting.
“I think it was a wonderful event,” Ryan said. “The weather co-operated and we had a great turnout. It’s a great opportunity to get together to start the holiday season. I think it’s important for communities to come together, especially at this time of year.”
Shawn McNamara was among members of the Pictou Lobster Carnival Committee who volunteered for the event.
He led the parade on foot to ensure spectators remained on the sidewalk, away from vehicles in the parade. He said he was asked to do it as a precaution in light of the recent tragedy in Yarmouth.
The parade was brief and featured music from a marching pipe band, 4-H club members seated on a wagon and a throng of school students led by those from Pictou Academy.
A donkey and sheep were led onto the gazebo where a manger scene was located.
Bonnie Allan and fellow staff members from the Pictou Library were on hand to give out books to children as part of its Adopt-A-Library literacy program. Hot chocolate was available nearby.
Allan and her staff were in Christmas attire as she shared a reading of ‘Twas the Night before Christmas.
Members of McCulloch Education Centre choir also provided music.
Stellarton Mayor Danny MacGillivary flipped the switch Friday night to light the Town of Stellarton’s Christmas tree located in Town Square. More than 100 people attended the event.
Featured were two local elementary school choirs — from Dr. W. A. MacLeod and G. R. Saunders schools. Activities included hot chocolate at the Stellarton Fire Hall, served by the Stellarton and Area Lions Club, with cookies provided by First Presbyterian Church. Town library staff engaged children of all ages to create holiday crafts, and a horse-drawn wagon delighted children and adults alike with an exciting trip around the block.
Santa handed out candy canes to children who greeted him with big smiles and excitement. Town residents, neighbouring towns and visitors enjoyed the fun and festivities.
“This is the time of year that is dedicated to the important things in life: family, friends, and giving of ourselves and to others. Our goal at Christmas is to spread love and kindness, it is a beautiful time of year, ” said MacGillivary.
The New Glasgow Tree Lighting event really was all about the community.
From the music, the dance and, this year the tree — a donation from Kate English who thought the magnificent tree on her grandparents’ property on Elm Street was a perfect fit and put it to great use.
Mayor Nancy Dicks thought it was important to note that the November 30 event was the town’s first year separating the tree lighting from the parade in hopes of bringing the community together more often through the season. The goal was accomplished with new residents attending, moving all the way from Vancouver Island, four legged friends, and those young and old, including well known A.G Baillie staff member Bernadette Kellock who was happy to attend with her grandkids visiting from Cape Breton.
Santa’s Little Helpers, the New Glasgow Regional Police Youth Troop, ensured everyone had a hot chocolate in one hand and a candy cane in the other. Private Eric Broderick, and recruits Cohen Ryan and Jarrett Jordan, were eager to open the doors of Glasgow Square to incoming guests and volunteers including students of Miss Carla’s Dance. The dancers could be seen from miles away with not only sparkles on their costumes but in their hearts.
The cold air did not chill the warmth of the special moments, including the arrival of Santa Claus himself accompanied by the New Glasgow Fire Department. Welcoming letters, photo opportunities with children and dogs, Santa was as happy to meet the children as to see the performers on stage.
Fourteen year old Rebecca DeCoste and her father led the crowd in some familiar songs much to the excitement of the young dancers eager to sing along, which led to the much anticipated count down.
The main event drew all eyes towards the East River and the tree lit up in all of its splendor.
Students from Pictou Academy were among those in the parade heading to the Christmas tree lighting in Pictou.