The Christmas Tree lighting at Nance Park in Indialantic took place Thursday. The tree lighting is an annual event that is supported by the beachside businesses and volunteer efforts.
“I’ve been coming to this event for 10 years now, since I was in elementary school,” sophomore Kira Anzalone said.
The event is opened by a speech from Mayor Dave Berkmen wishing everyone happy holidays and by the Indialantic Elementary chorus performing.
“Kids always sound better than adults, no matter what, they’re cuter,” Kelly Rodano, a volunteer firefighter, said.
After the chorus performs, there is a countdown to the tree lighting, when the mayor lights up the Christmas Tree. Afterward, Santa comes by on a firetruck to hand out candy to the kids. This year, there was an included photo opportunity with Santa as well.
“We had a bit of a beach theme going on,” Berkman said. “The fire department let us borrow their rescue surfboard.”
The photos were not the only new thing this year, for the first time in a decade the Christmas Tree had to be replaced. The tree that had been living in the park for years was damaged during Hurricane Michael, so a new tree had to be purchased and decorated.
“We, a bunch of the citizens, rallied around it,” Chris Mullen, who had been portraying Santa, said. “We helped [Mayor] Dave find this crazy tree online, and we bought it for the whole town.”
To many people, this event holds value as the holiday season approaches.
“It’s kind of like a mark,” Anzalone said. “Because you’re like ‘ugh, Christmas is so far away’, but when you hit the tree lighting, it’s like ‘all right, Christmas is coming’.”
Said Berkman: “It’s great to get the community together. We had one of our bigger crowds tonight and we had a lot of fun.”
By Delaney Gunnell