News Old - DO NOT USE - The Coast News Rancho Santa Fe

City celebrates Christmas at Mission

OCEANSIDE — Christmas at the Mission wowed more than 300 guests with holiday lights, Christmas carolers, and food from 12 local restaurants on Dec. 14.
The event truly reflects old fashioned Franciscan hospitality with plenty of food, drink and music, Beverly Perna, Mission San Luis Rey communications director, said.
Guests, Mission San Luis Rey staff, and volunteers look forward to the holiday event all year. Yvette O’Neill, who works as the Mission San Luis Rey accountant, puts together the annual decorations and lights for the event.
“Every year I try to come up with something new,” O’Neill said.
Preparations for the evening event began at 7 a.m., with placement of lighting and decorations. Cranberry wreaths, strings of multicolored lights and glittering tabletop decorations were thoughtfully put in place.
“This year’s bigger and better,” Marlene Hartman, event co-chair and Mission San Luis Rey board member, said. “I’ve gotten many wonderful comments.”
The event had a smaller turn out last year with the downturn in the economy, but the number of supporters surpassed expectations this year, Hartman said.
Funds raised from the annual event are put toward conservation of the old mission, chiefly to pay for the needed old mission church earthquake retrofit.