DuBOIS — All was merry and bright in the DuBois City Park Friday night, where nearly 200 people gathered to watch the annual lighting of the Christmas tree. This year’s event was marked by the return of a very special guest who, for the first time in some years, had his very own house in DuBois.

Dozens of kids lined up outside Santa Claus’ new house on the Edward V. Cherry Amphitheater stage. Anna Gralak said she planned on asking for a gumball machine.

“Because I like candy,” she explained.

The event was organized by the Downtown DuBois Revitalization Group to kick-off the holiday season. Festivities started at Parkside Community Center, where families could have a bite to eat, courtesy of Logan’s Quick Lunch, and kids could make crafts courtesy of Pat Catan’s. Performances by the baton performance corps Kidnetix were featured throughout the night.

The corps then led those in attendance in a parade of sorts through the park to the front the amphitheatre stage for hot cocoa and carols. City Manager Herm Suplizio led story time, reading to the children from a copy of “The Night Before Christmas.”

The crowd erupted when Santa and Mrs. Claus appeared and cut the ribbon around their dwelling onstage. Then the crowd counted down in anticipation for the centerpiece of the night – the tree-lighting.

Dori Samank, of the DDRG, said the clear skies and big turnout made for a great evening. She was particularly grateful to Lowe’s for donating the Santa house, which she said was the best she had “ever seen in any town, anywhere.”

“It was a stupendous evening,” Samanka said. “We’re just thrilled to pieces, and the good part is that Santa will be here six times in the next three weeks for kids to give their lists.”

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