Music, Santa and good cheer at Mountlake Terrace Tree Lighting ceremony

The temperature was just over freezing Friday night, but the 39th annual Mountlake Terrace Tree Lighting Ceremony warmed hearts at the Jerry Smith Town Center Plaza near city hall.

Volunteers dutifully handed out free cocoa and a variety of cookies while the Mountlake Terrace High School Jazz Band played traditional holiday classics.

Young parents held their kids on their shoulders, older folks chatted and some enthusiastic revelers wore blinking colorful necklaces.  Mountlake Terrace City Councilmember Steve Woodard even had a flickering Seahawks holiday sweater. Go Hawks!

The Terrace Park Elementary choir sang four Christmas songs, including Jingle Bells and Santa Claus is Coming to Town, to the delight of small children who were dancing in front.

Elsewhere, little kids played in the snow, while their parents yelled “Get up!  You’re not wearing snow pants!” Dogs looked on patiently.

Suddenly, the sound of a fire truck’s siren cut through the din of the crowd. Everyone knew Santa was on his way.

As he exited the fire truck, Santa was met with loud cheers, as if he was a rock star. After making a brief speech to the adoring crowd, he sat on a chair to listen to children’s Christmas wish lists. When the kids were speechless, their parents would encourage them by saying, “Go ahead, tell Santa what you want.”  The kids still were speechless. A rock star isn’t someone you see every day after all.

Finally, a countdown punctuated the evening to the lighting of the 20-foot-tall artificial tree. It lit the plaza with a brilliant golden tone. The perfect end to the night.

The free event was sponsored by Mountlake Terrace Plaza. But donations were accepted for the Michelle Ringler Youth Recreation Scholarship Fund, which helps enroll children in several Mountlake Terrace Recreation Pavilion programs.

— Story, photos and video by David Carlos

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