It was cool out, and a brisk wind swept across Town Square in downtown Havre Saturday night.
“But at least it’s not 40 below with snow up to our knees, like last year, ” said Havre Area Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Palmer as the annual lighting of the Christmas tree ceremony.
Fires were started in barrels so people could keep their hands warm.
The ceremony has become a tradition in Havre, and Saturday night’s festivities were much the same as in recent years.
People lined up for hot chocolate at the Salvation Army truck, the Havre High School Hi-Liters sang Christmas carols like “Joy to the World” and “Silent Night, ” and kids sat in a semi-circle around the stage waiting for the arrival of Santa Claus.
Then the Hi-Liters led the crowd in singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town, ” as the crowd of youngsters grew more excited.
The highlight of the evening came was Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus arrived, shaking hands with kids who cheered in delight.
Santa joked about the trouble he had clearing border security.
“They couldn’t believe that all I had in my sack was toys, ” he said.
Master of ceremonies Brian Jenkins then led the crowd in a countdown.
“Three, two, one …”
The white lights on the Christmas tree at the center of Town Square then came on, as the crowd expressed its approval.