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Essex uses modified, virtual tree lighting to honour frontline workers


by Sylene Argent

photo submitted

While traditionally, the Essex Salvation Army and Essex Centre BIA would team-up to host the annual Tree Lighting ceremony, which would include hot chocolate, treats, live band music, and caroling by the tree on the front lawn of the Essex Municipal Building, the COVID-19 pandemic had this year’s holiday kick-off take place a little differently this year.

  In light of the pandemic, Council members gathered to officially light the tree, while the event was uploaded to the Town of Essex’s social media for the community to enjoy. This allowed for a sense of Christmas spirit to brew from within each community member, from the comfort of their own homes. The pandemic also allowed the Town of Essex to use the event to honour frontline workers, as Betsabe Zuiderveen, who has been employed at Iler Lodge for more than two-decades, was asked to officially flip the switch.

  Zuiderveen was welcomed to the Tree Lighting event in recognition of the hard work frontline care workers have put in throughout the pandemic.

  “On behalf of Council and the entire community, we would like to thank Betsabe, her colleagues, her peers throughout the region, and all of the other essential workers, who have dealt with these extraordinary circumstances with poise and dedication,” Essex Mayor Larry Snively said before Zuiderveen officially flipped on the lights. “We know this has been a difficult year for all of you, so thank you for going above and beyond in your service to some of the most vulnerable in our community.”

  In continuation of celebrating the Christmas season, the Town of Essex is hosting its Holiday-themed Tune Up the Parks virtual concert series. New performance, hosted by local musicians, are uploaded to the Town’s social media pages on Monday and Wednesday evenings.

  To date, Doug Biekx, Steve Morin and Friends, Cymbolism, and Francine Honey, who released her own holiday album, “Take Me to the North Pole,” last year, have performed.  

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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