The Phelan Pinon Hills Community Services District presented their first annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. The event, held on December 3, 2021, saw over 150 in attendance, all eager to grab a hot cup of cocoa, have a visit with Santa, and witness the first-ever Christmas tree lighting at the Phelan Community Park.
Anticipation began to build as the crowd waited for Santa’s arrival. Many became concerned when all of a sudden, the fire engine from County Fire Station 10 pulled into the Phelan Park parking lot with lights flashing. Could this medical emergency thwart the evening’s activities? Not so much. When all at once from the window of the fire engine, a white-gloved hand appeared waving to all that could see! Was it a firefighter? Wait, could it be… Ho! Ho! Ho! sounded from the window, followed by the vision of rosy red cheeks and a bright white beard topped with a red cap. Santa had arrived, not on foot, not by sleigh, but by fire engine escort. All were overjoyed at the sight as Santa made his way out of the engine, greeting excited young ones as he made his way to his Santa’s Cabin, where his chair patiently awaited.
With parents in tow, children made their way to Santa’s cabin waiting in line to verify that he had them on the nice list, not the naughty one. Many also had last-minute edits to their wish list that they wanted to convey to the jolliest of jolly men and his helpers.
Rebecca Kujawa, the vice president of the PPHCSD Board of Directors, hosted the event. She gathered everyone around the newly planted Christmas Tree, welcomed everyone to the event, and handed the ceremony over to Phelan Honorary Mayor Todd Anton to count down to the tree lighting. Mayor Todd gave a brief speech before asking those in attendance for some help counting down. Five, four, three, he shouted in his teacher’s voice as everybody joined in, two, one, and suddenly the Phelan Community Park lit up with a brightly multicolored Christmas Tree full of twinkling lights bulbs and decorations. All let out cheers of excitement at the beautiful sight.
Also in attendance were PPHCSD employees who handed out hot cocoa and cookies, Station 10 Firefighters–showing off their hula-hoop skills, and the Miss Phelan Court adding some glamor and glitz of the event. The Pinon Hills Chamber of Commerce graciously provides support for Santa, his cabin, chair, and itinerary as he is scheduled to make several visits around the Tri-Community in the days to come.
Last year, the Christmas tree was purchased with plans to have a tree lighting ceremony. Plans were in motion, and because of a sudden pandemic stay-at-home order, the 2020 event had to be canceled. Wanting to spread some holiday cheer, local students from Serrano painted the large wooden container the tree was planted in to look like a Christmas gift bringing the holidays to the park, just not how it was initially intended. Soon after, the tree was removed from the container and permanently planted in its current location. The tree is very happy and has grown several feet over the year, and is well on its way to becoming a new holiday tradition in Phelan and the Tri-Community.