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Tree lighting brightens Christmas spirit



by Sylene Argent

The Essex Centre BIA and the Essex Salvation Army invited community members out to the front lawn of the Essex Municipal Building on Friday evening to kick off the holiday season with the annual Tree Lighting and Kettle Campaign Kick Off event.

  In what was likely the biggest turnout for this event in years, event participants enjoyed singing favourite Christmas carols as the members of the Essex Public School Band and the Salvation Army South Windsor Band played along.

  Santa and Mrs. Claus freed-up some time in their very busy schedule to hear holiday wishes from all the youth who attended the event. The Town of Essex was kind enough to decorate the gazebo in Christmas flare ahead of the event, knowing the big man in red was coming to town.

  Essex Mayor Ron McDermott officially switched on the lights wrapped around the tree located outside the Essex Municipal Building. The event helped highlight the star atop the tree the Essex Centre BIA purchased two years ago to enhance the holiday flare in town.

  Though the weather was quite nice for the event, the Essex Salvation Army helped keep participants warm by providing hotdogs, chili, and hot chocolate to all who attended.

  For the Essex Salvation Army, the annual Tree Lighting event is important as it kickes off the Christmas Kettle Campaign fundraiser.  This holiday season, the Essex Salvation Army is looking to raise $80,000 through its Kettle Campaign and Letter Campaign. These funds will help the Salvation Army support area individuals and families in need throughout the year through the many programs and services it provides, including its food bank. All the funds collected through this initiative stay local.

  Generous community members also forwarded new, unwrapped gifts to the Essex Salvation Army for its Christmas program, which helps brighten the holidays for area families facing economic stress.

  Volunteers are always needed to man the kettles for a short duration. If anyone can donate some time to do so, contact the church at 519-776-4628.

  Looking ahead, the Essex Centre BIA and the Windsor Parade Corps will host the Essex Centre Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, December 8. The event will kick off with a meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Essex United Church at 5 p.m. The parade will begin at 6:30 p.m. with its theme, “My Christmas Story.”

  For more information, log onto www.essexbia.com.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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