Community gathers to celebrate start of holiday season


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John Kelleher Havre Daily News [email protected]

Long before the starting time of 5:30 p.m., people started gathering at Town Square Saturday, showing up ready for the annual tree-lighting ceremony. Scouts were lighting candles along 3rd Avenue and 1st Street. The Chamber Ambassadors organized the luminary effort, using candles that were made by local schoolchildren. "The candles are all lit, there is lots of good food, the weather is just right," said Kim Cripps, as she oversaw the Scouts placing the candles. At the North Central Senior Citizens Center tent, the fry bread was going fast. "We got our first customer at 10 of 5," said Elly Rennick. The money will go to help senior citizen programs. Peanut butter cookies were the best seller at the Girl Scout booth, where they were raising money for the trip to Disneyland. At first, business was slow at the Boy Scout booth. "We took some time off to look at SpongeBob Santa," Said eight-year-old Joseph McLeod. Triple-chocolate delights were the most popular of the desserts, said eight-year-old Scout Logan Twombley. Then the festivities were set to begin. "Hi there, I'm Jolly, sometimes I go by Jim Potter," said a man dressed in red, calling the proceedings to order. "I hope you have a jolly, jolly Christmas." He introduced Fource, an all-female Havre High School singing group, which led the crowd in singing "Deck the Halls,” “Frosty the Snowman," "We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” "Silent Night" and "Oh, Come all Ye Faithful." In between songs, Jolly led the crowd in chants of "ho, ho ho," in preparation of Santa's arrival. "I'm not hearing enough singing," implored Jolly. He urged people to stop at the Salvation Army booth where they could get hot chocolate. Fire sirens could be heard in the background. That was a sign, Jolly said, that Santa Claus was near. Soon, Santa arrived, and joyous young people surrounded him. Then it was time for the highlight of the ceremonies. Santa led the crowd in cheering as the Christmas tree lights were turned on.


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