Lights, Santa, action: Plainville kicks off holiday season by lighting up tree

Six year old Evan Papastamatiou had the privilege to say when to turn on the lights at the annual tree lighting ceremony last Thursday. Here, he tells Santa what he wants for Christmas. (Photo by Janelle Morelli)

By SHERIDAN ROY

STAFF WRITER

The Town of Plainville held its 26th annual tree lighting ceremony last week, officially kicking off the holiday season.

Town officials were joined by the police and fire departments, members of the Board of Education, the Plainville Chamber of Commerce, and the downtown merchants association.

The Plainville High School band and the “Kids in the Middle” chorus from the Middle School of Plainville set the tone of the evening, performing all of the classic Christmas carols and encouraging others to join in.

Pastor Jim Caron reminded everyone of the true meaning of Christmas, and reminded all to remember what the holiday is about.

“We can get so caught up in the hustle and bustle – the Christmas buying, wrapping, gift returning – it’s easy to get stressed out and frustrated,” he said. “Somehow we just don’t seem to enjoy Christmas, but Christmas is a really wonderful time to enjoy.”

Plainville’s tree lighting ceremony is more than a flip of a switch. It is an opportunity for residents and downtown businesses to partake in the holiday stroll. Maps were distributed to families, and merchants had various holiday activities, deals and raffles planned.

“There is a lot of coordination and organizing that goes on before we all get here this evening,” said Town Council chair Kathy Pugliese. “I’d like to thank the chamber of Commerce and the downtown merchants association for hosting this event. Please try and visit our local merchants. They have done a great job preparing for this holiday season, so tonight is the kickoff.”

Pugliese also thanked the town’s buildings and grounds crew for decorating the downtown area with lights, banners and garland.

One lucky 6-year-old from Linden Street School, Evan Papastamatiou, had the honors of lighting the tree and shouting out for Santa to come. Mr. and Mrs. Claus came in on a fire truck moments later.

Everyone was invited into the firehouse for a warm beverage and treats, but first, officials offered some safety tips.

Fire chief Kevin Toner urged families to be careful with candles, and to make sure Christmas trees are well watered if they are real trees. When trees dry out, they become prone to fires, and it won’t take long for that fire to spread throughout the house.

Lieutenant Eric Peterson from the Plainville police department shared some tips for driving safety.

“As you attend holiday parties, make sure you take advantage of such things as a designated driver, like Uber,” he said. “Also be careful as you are driving – be sure to be text free. Texting while driving is very dangerous.”

He also reminded all to buckle up, and for parents to be sure young children are properly buckled and are in car seats if necessary.

 To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Roy, email her at SRoy@SouthingtonObserver.com.