Santa Claus is coming to town for his annual role in a couple of weeks, but the jolly fellow made a brief appearance on Tuesday night in North Augusta to oversee the Christmas tree lighting.
The evergreen on the corner of Calhoun Park in North Augusta was lit up Monday evening by Reagan McGhee, 10, and Reese Howie, 6.
"Tonight is pretty much the start of Christmas in North Augusta. Once the lights turn on here, they turn on everywhere in North Augusta where we put our Christmas lights," said Mandy Nelson, with the city's Parks, Recreation and Tourism department.
Santa and the missus joined McGhee and Howie, along with Mayor Bob Pettit. to pull the big red switch.
"Christmas is a time when we think about peace, the opportunity for peace, serenity," Pettit said before the event. "The Christmas tree is just a symbol of Christmas, and when you think about Christmas, I think that’s the first thing that comes to your mind. The beauty of it, the fact that it’s evergreen – it shows life and rebirth, even in the winter season."
The mayor said Christmas this year will be special, mentioning that downtown is going to be more of a part of Christmas, with more businesses opening.
"People are going to be able to go to downtown North Augusta again and do some shopping," he said.
McGhee and Howie pulled the switch at around 6:10 p.m. McGhee, daughter of City Council member and mayor pro tem David McGhee, said she was excited to be a part of the lighting and enjoys Christmas. She even knew off the top of her head that there are 22 days left until Christmas.
Along with the lights, there were roasted marshmallows with the Boy Scouts, and Junior Women’s League provided refreshments and letters to Santa. Paul Knox and North Augusta middle school bands and choirs provided a little background music for the evening.