Photo Gallery: Christmas Tree Lighting in the Harbor
Hundreds of residents turned out for the annual holiday event at the Gazebo, which featured city officials, school choirs and, of course, Santa.
The annual Christmas tree lighting event at the John Wilson Park Gazebo Friday night probably wasn't very different from the original ceremony, save for a few more people and maybe a few more strands of lights.
But the good feelings generated by the citizens of Safety Harbor coming together to enjoy such a special holiday tradition felt just as powerful as they must have 28 years ago, if not more so.
Hundreds of men, women and children of all ages showed up at the park to continue the longstanding tradition of lighting the community Christmas tree, with city officials and Holiday Parade Grand Marshals Gisela Bennie and Joe Caisse leading the way.
"This is why I love to live here," Bennie said following the ceremony. "I just want to be part of making this city special, which it is."
In addition to the tree lighting, members of three area choirs sang Christmas carols, and old St. Nick himself made an appearance and allowed a long line of kids to sit on his lap.
It all made for a wonderful way to kick off the 2012 holiday season while keeping a cherished tradition alive.
"I want to thank the city of Safety Harbor for doing such a great job organizing this event," Mayor Andy Steingold told the assembled crowd.
"And I want to thank all of you for coming out here and making this community so special."