EAST NEW MARKET — The 2nd annual East New Market tree lighting ceremony was, as Commissioner Mary Dennard-Turner said, “a little bit different this year because the weatherman said ‘come into the building.’” On Friday, a small group of hardy souls braved the frigid temperatures and trooped into the Municipal Building.
Adjacent to the reception area with its coffee, cocoa, and cookies, was a large room in the process of renovation. It was dark – illuminated only by the latest Christmas lighting craze, red and green points of light flitting around the room on walls, chairs, and people.
After Commissioner David Tolley offered an opening prayer, chairperson Dennard-Turner said, “We know the mayor will have a few words.” Mayor Caroline Cline chuckled, “You want a few words? How about two? Merry Christmas!” She added, “This is the 2nd annual tree lighting and we hope there will be many more. We’re inside because of the inclement weather. We must give a special thanks to Mary for chairing this event and to Tracy (Whitby Fairall), Lee (Fairall), and Cathy (Collins) from the neighborhood across the street. Thank you so much and thank all of you who’ve turned out.”
Let the music play! And play it did with an a’cappella version of Mary Did You Know by Pastor Ashley Jones. “She is a beautiful person and she has a voice to go with her personality,” said Ms. Dennard-Turner. Carol singing did not end there. A precocious youngster named Shiloh stepped up to the plate and led a few numbers that had the group tapping feet and clapping.
A final touching comment by Mayor Cline preceded Santa’s arrival. She pointed out East New Market resident Gary Blackstock who is a fixture at town meetings where he regularly contributes help, opinions, and humor. Ms. Cline said, “For many years Gary did many good things here in town. Among them chairing various boards and so forth and he’s recently had a health issue that prevents him from driving his car. I’m sure he rode in tonight on his bicycle. Thank you, Gary.”
Suddenly a fire truck crawled up the street, lights flashing. It was Santa and Mrs. Claus in the most beautiful attire any Santa ever wore. Truly impressive! Santa, aka Ed Davis, and his wife, aka Stacey Tolley looked fantastic and each played their roles to the hilt. Everyone wanted a picture with them and the cell phone cameras were furiously flashing away.
The tree would be lit another evening.