ROGERS CITY - With the touch of his two magic candy canes, Santa Claus lighted the numerous Christmas trees in Westminster Park Wednesday evening to help the Rogers City Optimist Club's "Light up the City."
A large crowd had gathered among the trees to await his arrival, singing along with Mike Peltz of the Optimists. He introduced the Peace Lutheran Choir, Miss Rogers City, Mayor Beach Hall and others in the gazebo at the center of it all.
Among the audience were children eager to tell Father Christmas what they wanted under their own trees come Dec. 25. Sue Middaugh of Millersburg brought her grandson, Gregory Kuchinski, for his second year. She waited in line to see Santa with Veronica and her son, Zabian Corey.
News Photo by Jordan Travis
Miss Rogers City, the Presque Isle County Fair Queen and others sing along with the Peace Lutheran Choir at “Light up the City” in Rogers City’s Westminster Park Wednesday.
"The kids are excited, they're waiting for Santa's reindeer to come across," she said, just before Zabian exclaimed, as he pointed to the sky: "Reindeer!"
Shortly after, Gregory said he planned to ask Santa for "lots of presents ... like, 200."
Before Santa made his entrance, Hall greeted the crowd and commented on the mild, dry night.
"This is the earliest Thanksgiving that can ever occur on the calendar," he said. "The last time Thanksgiving was this early was in 1984. The Optimists had not started this wonderful tradition yet. The next time it will be this early will be 2040, and I doubt I'll still be mayor then."
Most of the Christmas trees have sponsors, be it a local business, classroom, family or organization. Ever since the Optimist Club started, Ada Thompson has sponsored a tree on behalf of herself and her family in honor of her late husband. Beverly LaLonde was with her, and she also has sponsored a tree in honor of her husband since he passed away. Both said they are glad for the opportunity.
"I think it's just cool," Thompson said. "I think Rogers City does a fantastic job with that tree lighting."
The Presque Isle County Historical Museum opened its Christmas exhibits Wednesday as well. The Bradley House was decorated for the season, with "The Christmas Angels" as the name of the theme, Museum Director Mark Thompson said.
Santa visited the museum after the tree lighting, and he'll be back Friday and Saturday from 1-3 p.m., and Sunday from 12-4 p.m.
Jordan Travis can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 358-5688.