They braved the rain. They braved the cold. They braved the singing.
Dozens of Cottage Grove residents ventured into the weather on Saturday to ring in the start of the holiday season at the city’s tree lighting event.
Cottage Grove Area Chamber Director Travis Palmer served as MC, playing Christmas songs over speakers in All-America Park at the corner of 7th and Main beginning at 4:30. By 5 p.m., a crowd of approximately 150 people had gathered, flooding the closed street and being coaxed into Christmas carols by two brave volunteers who took centered stage and lead the crowd in “Here Comes Santa Claus.” Seconds later, here came Santa.
Riding in, not on a sleigh but one of South Lane County Fire and Rescue's new fire trucks, councilman Jake Boone made his appearance as the ever jolly Santa, joining Cottage Grove Mayor Jeff Gowing for the traditional countdown.
The tree, donated by the Woolley family from Drain, was erected earlier in the week and decorated by city crew members. New Main St. Coordinator Carlene Giroud said she hoped to expand the city's collection of decorations for next year. "I've ordered reindeer with a sleigh," she said. "I want to invest in more permanent things that we can use year after year."
Boone reappeared as Santa at city hall where the line for photos extended out into the lobby and through the front doors. Each child received a free photo with Santa, a candy cane and a ticket to retrieve the photo online. According to the city manager's office, approximately 500 photos were taken with Santa in front of a tree donated by Hendrick's Tree Farm.
The tree lighting capped off a day of Christmas activities in Cottage Grove that included a holiday breakfast at the South Lane County fire house, free rides on the fire truck, the annual stained glass feature at the museum and a block party at Shampoo Dolls featuring hayrides, hot chocolate and music.