Holidays begin with tree-lighting and carols

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
East Granby - posted Thu., Nov. 29, 2012
Sandra Vick on guitar leads the carols while her husband Gary accompanies on the jingle bells. Photos contributed by Tami Zawistowski. - Contributed Photo

Residents of East Granby found a great way to follow up their Thanksgiving Day feast, by attending the third annual community tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 23 and singing holiday carols with their friends and neighbors. The event, which is put on by Building Community Bridges and the East Granby Chamber of Commerce, got everyone into the holiday spirit and gave them a chance to listen to their favorite holiday tunes.

“We had a very nice crowd; it’s very rewarding to see everyone come out,” said Barbara Pigford, the chairperson for Building Community Bridges. “We are really pleased because there is nothing quite like it. People look forward to it because it’s enjoyable to have something like this and bring everyone together.”

More than 150 people gathered around the giant evergreen tree outside the First National Bank of Suffield at the Center Shops in town to see the pine tree transformed into a Christmas tree. Children peered out from underneath their scarves and hats, their parents joining in their anxiousness, as the crowd counted down to the lighting of the town's Christmas tree. The East Granby Junior Girl Scouts switched on the power, and on went the tree’s colorful red, green, and blue lights - to a loud ovation from the crowd.

“Every time they pass the lit tree during the holiday season, they can remember that they’re part of a great little community that welcomed the holiday season together with family, friends and neighbors,” said Tami Zawistowski, a member of the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “What makes this event special is its simplicity. It has a real hometown feel to it. It brings people together to kick off the holiday season and get into a joyful spirit as a community.”

With the colorful tree in the background, the community gathered around music instructor and guitarist Sandra Vick as she led the singing of carols alongside her husband, Gary, playing favorites like, “Jingle Bells,” ”Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Silent Night.” After the carol singing, guests went to the community center to socialize over baked goods and hot cocoa, while children participated in a coloring contest. At the center, guests also donated non-perishable food items for East Granby's Friend to Friend Food Pantry.

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