Pittsfield In-Person Tree Lighting Ceremony Returns After 2-Year Hiatus
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Hundreds gathered at Park Square on Friday for the city's first in-person tree lighting ceremony in three years.
The 25-foot tall white spruce is adorned by 20,000 lights, illuminating the area and spreading holiday cheer.
"There are so many kids and families here this evening and I know everyone is anxious to see the beautiful tree that was donated by the Laviolette family," Mayor Linda Tyer said right before the switch was flipped.
"Thank you for your generosity. This tree will provide a whole month of beauty and festivity for all of us to enjoy and I love coming to the tree lighting because when you look all around Park Square, you can see just how beautiful our city is at this time of year."
Jack and Rita Laviolette and their daughter, Justine, donated the tree in memory of Jack's brother George Laviolette, who passed away in October. They said he was a gentle giant, similar to the tree.
"He was a sweetheart," Justine Laviolette said about her late uncle.
The Laviolette's grandchildren took the stage to help light the tree after an enthusiastic countdown from 10.
The Taconic High School chorus and the Berkshire Hills Chorus performed holiday songs at the event. Across the street, Otto's Kitchen and Comfort held a free hot chocolate bar and photo booth.
Santa and Mrs. Claus made a special entrance on a firetruck and had a meet and greet with the kids. A line of little ones waited patiently to tell Santa what presents they wanted this year in hopes of being on his nice list.
Recreation & Special Events Coordinator Becky Manship said the city has "certainly" been looking forward to this event.
She thanked all involved in the endeavor: the donating family, the parks maintenance crew, Pittsfield Community Television, the highway department, the building maintenance department, police, LP Adams Co., the performers, and Otto's.
Donation bins were set up for nonperishable food items that will go to Christian Center's food pantry. Manship reminded attendees that they can still bring donations to the center at 193 Robbins Ave. Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an in-person ceremony was not able to happen in 2020 and 2021. Last year, the city teamed up with PCTV for a virtual tree lighting, which included remote performances and a visit from the Clauses.
PCTV also provided live coverage of the event this year for everyone at home.
The tree lighting is a part of Downtown Pittsfield Inc's "Festive Frolick," which includes a number of holiday events on December 2 and 3 for a variety of ages.
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