MIFFLINBURG — The borough’s Annual Community Tree Lighting on Sunday night was a family affair for many residents who have been coming for years with their kids and grandkids.
“We came out for these little guys,” Joyce Beaver, of Millmont, said, pointing to a few of her five grandchildren inside the Mifflinburg Hose Company garage following the tree lighting. They were inside where Santa was hearing requests from kids, as singer-guitarist KJ Reimensnyder performed and visitors enjoyed cookies and hot chocolate.
“They’re almost all here,” said Beaver, whose husband, Donald, and daughter Stephanie Beaver and son-in-law Scott Ryan also were there.
The 10th annual tree lighting drew a crowd of close to 200 people to Mifflinburg’s main street despite the cold, chilly drizzle falling.
As has been the tradition, Santa Claus joined Mayor David Cooney, who threw the switch to light the tree erected in front of the former borough hall.
The tree lighting coincided with the annual Downtown Open House that included business specials, demonstrations, refreshments, treats, a scavenger hunt with prizes, a coloring contest with prizes and a storefront decorating contest.
Inside the firehouse, Donald Beaver, at KJ’s beckoning, joined her on “Frosty the Snowman,” with one of her tambourines.
His daughter Stephanie and her husband, Scott, who live in Greenville, South Carolina, brought their daughter, Lily, 8.
Scott said they came up for the funeral for Donald’s mother and stayed for the tree lighting.
“We usually come up for Christmas,” he said. “We came up for Thanksgiving, we’ll come up for Christmas, too.”
Jesica White, of Mifflinburg, said she and her husband, Steve, have been coming to the tree lighting for six years, since their daughter was born. They now have three children — their daughter, 6, and boys 3 and 2.
“It’s a charming community atmosphere,” Jesica said of the festivities.
“It’s just a small hometown atmosphere,” Steve added. “You see the big tree in Washington, D.C., or New York City. We have our own version.”
Cooney said Charles and Jeane Dando donated the 30-year-old tree. He told the crowd before the lighting Charles had claimed the tree was 29 years old, while Jeane said it was 30. After it was cut down, the rings were counted.
“As usual, the wife was right,” the mayor announced.
The lighting usually draws up to 300 people, but he was pleased with Sunday night’s turnout despite the weather.
“I love this thing,” Cooney said of the tree lighting. “It’s like the official launch of the season.”