MOSCOW – A frosty evening greeted bundled up visitors as they gathered by the gazebo along Main Street.
At just about 18 degrees out, it would be hard to imagine anyone standing outside on purpose. This crowd had gathered for a reason. It was time to light the Moscow Christmas tree.
Prior to the main event, North Pocono students and members of Musical Dreams Studio led the crowd in popular Christmas singalong songs.
Elena Altmiller, Alenah Thomas, Regina Steele and Corey Kizer donned their elf hats, braved the cold and put on a show before the tree. Later, they would join the rest of the Musical Dreams kids in a musical showcase at the borough building.
After a few quick carols, the tree was lit up in all its glory.
Santa arrived in style, via the Moscow Fire and Hose company fire engine.
Then it was time for the crowd to take it on the road, literally, as they crossed Main Street with the assistance of local policeman Officer Cieless who directed traffic.
Cieless said later he enjoyed the Christmas season because “people just seem to have a lot happier attitude.”
That definitely seemed to be the case as the tree lighting crowd joined even more folks at the borough building on Van Brunt Street.
Here there was plenty to take part in, from pictures with Santa and Mrs Claus, to ornament making and hot chocolate and baked treats.
Part of the draw was the musical talent. The bell choir from the Moscow United Methodist Church played hauntingly beautiful tunes on various sized bells.
The bell choir took turns with young musicians and singers from Musical Dreams who showcased their individual talents.
Maggie and Merrick Young were the first piano players of the evening. Many of the other performances that night were by the carol singers from earlier that night. One of them, Elena Altmiller, performed an original holiday song.
In the foyer, Santa spent time with children who wanted to make sure he knew what they wanted for Christmas.
Parker, Dante and Tyler Boyle all met with Santa at once. The older boys knew they both wanted a remote control snake.
Macie Young, who was shy about approaching Santa but offered him a cookie instead, wanted anything Paw Patrol.
Cameron Castaldo wanted Hot Wheels and “a baby in Mommy's belly.”
Santa also had some young helpers. Anna and Lyla Pensek had gifts for the younger kids – a sticker ornament kit. These girls sharing in the giving season with the younger kids.
On the sidelines were Santa's chauffeurs – the firefighters of the Moscow Volunteer Fire and Hose Company.
Firefighters Shawn Young and Gary Huber both enjoyed the season because of the kids.
Chief Warner also enjoyed seeing kids having a good time.
“I just like the festivities,” Chief Warner said. “I like everything that's going on. The kids really enjoy this.”
Mayor Rose Warner was passionate about bringing these community-based events back into Moscow, and that became her goal back when she joined council.
“What could we do to bring people together? To make them feel part of the [community]?” She said. “Anything that brings the community together and gets them to get into the spirit of whatever it is we're celebrating...”
She also mentioned that this is one time in the year to see the youth performing, an opportunity that doesn't present itself often.
The community angle was the most important part of all to the mayor.
“It's what the season's about. Getting everybody together.”