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Residents gather for annual Rotary tree lighting ceremony

CARLSBAD — Santa, his helpers and hundreds of Carlsbad residents braved a light rain to attend the Rotary Club of Carlsbad’s 26th annual Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony on Dec. 5.
Families gathered for warm refreshments, live entertainment and souvenir pictures with Santa provided by Carlsbad’s evening Rotary Club. The annual event was held at the festively decorated Village Faire Shopping Center, 300 Carlsbad Village Drive.
“It’s a showcase for the community to celebrate this time of year,” Rotarian Ray Pearson said. “It’s another way to bring families together and to celebrate what the Rotary Club does in Carlsbad.”
While the plaza was buzzing with holiday activities that afternoon, it was Santa’s arrival in a vintage fire truck that had the youngest attendees most excited.
Kids were quick to line up and patiently waited for their turn to take a picture with Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas. Printed pictures were offered free of charge, courtesy of the Rotary Club.
“It’s great for the kids; they really love it,” Oceanside resident Ty Tsaowimonsiri said. It was his first time at the event with his wife Sue and their two daughters, Melissa, 6, and Catherine, 4. “They were really excited to meet Santa and talk to him.”
Carlsbad High School’s Lancer Dancers and Encore’s Holiday Stars from Vista’s Encore Youth Theatre provided live entertainment that afternoon, while volunteers manned various kid-friendly craft stations throughout the plaza.
The Rotary Club also provided hot coffee and cider, as well as fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, for added holiday flair at the ceremony.
“This event is designed for Carlsbad families,” Pearson said. “We wanted it to be very kid-centric, with Santa and the pictures, and everything else we have going on.”
Mayor Elect Matt Hall put the finishing touch on the event as he lit the giant Christmas tree, which stands at the Carlsbad Village Drive entrance to the Village Faire Shopping Plaza. “The tree lighting part of the[RTF bookmark start: }_GoBack[RTF bookmark end: }_GoBack event is a tradition,” Pearson said.
The Carlsbad Village Association; Firefighters Association, Village Faire Shopping Center; Carlsbad Optimist Club and others provided additional support for the tree lighting event.
“We’ve been a part of the tree lighting ceremony for a long time now,” Bonnie Styles of the Optimist Club said. “We always support youth activities in Carlsbad; for this, we put together 300 bags of candy and hand them out after the kids visit with Santa.”
For more information about events hosted by the Rotary Club of Carlsbad, visit