By Katrina Van Duzee/Garden Grove Journal
Christmas songs echoed through Village Green Tuesday night as hundreds of bundled-up children and their parents waited to meet Santa and see the Garden Grove Christmas tree lit.
The annual event is free to the public and features live entertainment, holiday refreshments and a visit by Santa and Mrs. Claus.
This year’s performers included groups from Beahive Studio, Hitia O Te Ra Polynesian Group, St. Paul’s Lutheran School and La Quinta High School Concert Choir.
“I didn’t expect this many people to come out and support our choir and the other performers, said La Quinta High School student and choir member Michelle Salisburg.
“Even if I don’t perform next year I will come back because I was impressed with the tree and liked that they had Santa come.”
The countdown began around 7 p.m. when Mayor William Dalton stepped up to the podium to thank residents for their attendance.
After a quick speech Dalton, for the forth year, illuminated the 24-foot-high tree located by the clock tower at the corner of Main Street and Euclid Street in the city’s downtown area.
In past years the city has dropped imitation snow similar to Disneyland’s Christmas countdown as the tree is lit, this year some residents said they were disappointed they did not get to see the snowflakes.
“Hopefully next year they will have the snowfall again and more music for the kids, said Garden Grove resident Kevin Nguyen. “I thought it was too short this year.”
The event was scheduled to run until 8:30 p.m., but the performances and tree lighting were over around 7:30 p.m. The remainder of the event was dedicated to kids who wanted to sit on Santa’s lap.
Each year the Garden Grove Tree Lighting Celebration draws around 2,000 attendees from the community and neighboring cities, according to a press release from the city. The event officially starts at 6:30 p.m., but Girl Scout Carolers started singing at 5:30 p.m.
“We come to this event every year,” said Garden Grove resident Miguel Alvapp. “The city always puts on something fun and the kids love it.”