Annual tree-lighting event draws families

The third annual tree-lighting and caroling event in St. Joseph was a hit this year with more community collaboration to help ignite the holiday spirit.

Sponsored by the St. Joseph Action Group, the tradition included appearances by Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and a Living Christmas Tree. Hundreds came out to support the event, organizers said.

“It seems to grow every year,” said Thomasette Scheeler, OSB. “There were more families with children this year. We had a good turnout.”

The Christmas tree, close to 18-feet tall, was donated by St. Joseph dentist, Joseph Styles. It stands at the corner of Minnesota Street and College Avenue. As the tree was lit, many participants joined in singing carols. There were performances by students from Kennedy Community School, the Schola from St. Benedict’s Monastery and the St. Joseph Church Choir.

“We had a really nice turnout for the caroling,” said Ellen Wahlstrom, one of the event coordinators. “People joined in (the singing). It went very well.”

After the tree was lit and the singing was done, families gathered at LaPlayette Bar and Restaurant for more fun with Santa, refreshments and fellowship. Wahlstrom said families took pictures with Santa and organizers supplied grab bags of goodies for children. Volunteers and staff members from Sentry Bank in St. Joseph organized the children’s festivities at LaPlayette.

Kristen Mattick, choir director at Kennedy Community School, was proud of her students. They’ve sung carols at the event the last three years.

“It was a huge success,” Mattick said of the event.

TaLeiza Calloway

TaLeiza Calloway is a professional journalist in Central Minnesota. Her byline has appeared in the St. Cloud Times and Central Minnesota Women Magazine. The Ohio native moved to Minnesota about four years ago. She joined the St. Joseph Newsleader staff as a reporter in November 2011.
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