In Hammonton, over a thousand residents celebrated the start of the holiday season by welcoming Santa into their town for the annual Christmas-tree lighting ceremony.
Santa Claus is coming to town…in a few weeks that is. But on Saturday night, he made a pre-Christmas appearance in Hammonton, to light the town Christmas tree.
Stephen DiDonato, Mayor of Hammonton, told NBC40, "Ah, it's a beautiful night in Hammonton, small-town America." Dawn Baldwin, an event organizer, explained, "It's a very, very important event and it kicks off the holiday season. Every weekend from now until Christmas there's different holiday events."
Three choral ensembles, local theater performers, and several dance groups all provided entertainment for people of all ages.
Event organizers say the lighting of the tree has been a tradition for 15 years now, and has only been attracting a bigger and bigger crowd every year.
Cassie Iacovelli, Executive Director for Main Street Hammonton, said, "Everything we do people look forward to. It's a town of tradition - it's a town where people love to come out and be together as a community, so this night is special because in the eyes of the Hammonton folks, this is the official kickoff of Christmas and the arrival of Santa is something that everybody looks forward to."
Mayor DiDonato said, "Yeah, people look forward to the Christmas-tree lighting. Next week we have our annual Christmas parade next Saturday night - and it's just a fun time to be a resident in the town of Hammonton."
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