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Hancock lights the way to holidays

November 30, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

HANCOCK - More than 100 people joined in the singing of carols and holiday merriment Saturday night at the annual Christmas tree lighting celebration in Hancock.

Capped by a visit from Santa Claus, who arrived on a firetruck, Mayor Daniel A. Murphy said Saturday's event at the Town Hall community center building was the 10th year for the festivities.

"We have a good time with it," Murphy said as people gathered outside for the lighting of a tree and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman ornaments.

A partnership of the Interfaith Service Coalition and the Town of Hancock, Murphy credited the participation of a number of community groups, including the Hancock Chamber of Commerce, Girl Scout Troop 613 and the Hancock Volunteer Fire Co.

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"It's great to see all ages here gathered," Murphy told the standing-room only crowd that gathered in the community center.

Murphy later reminded those gathered that another Christmas tree celebration is planned for Wednesday night at Joseph Hancock Jr. Park, where residents are invited to take part in a decorating party.

Saturday's celebration began with performances by Santa-capped members of the Hancock Middle-Senior High School Panther Band led by first-year director Scott Benford.

The Rev. Anne Weatherholt enlisted the crowd in singing, and later had youngsters hold various symbols of the holiday season.

The meaning of the Christmas tree is "eternity" because it stays green year-round and all of the little needles point toward heaven, said Weatherholt, who later led the crowd in singing "Silent Night" outside before the star-topped tree and ornaments were lighted.

A boisterous rendition of "Here Comes Santa Claus" by the crowd was all that was needed to bring the fabled "jolly, white bearded" man dressed in red to the celebration via firetruck, which signaled its arrival with flashing lights, horn honking and sirens.

"Mrs. Santa Claus" said her husband has been making an appearance at the tree lighting celebration since the beginning, and visited several other events in the community for many years prior to that.

"We have went through three suits," Mrs. Claus said.

Garrett Fox of Hancock wasn't sure what he was going to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas.

"Probably a robot," Fox said. "I've been telling my family members a bunch of video games."

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