Richmond County Daily Journal
HAMLET — Christmas is in the air as the city of Hamlet started off December with its 27th annual tree lighting ceremony.
People crowded the area near the Hamlet Depot to listen to the children sing and watch as the area became lit with the lights from the Christmas tree.
Children from Monroe Avenue Elementary School and First Presbyterian Day School gathered together prepared to delight the crowd with a variety of Christmas songs. The kids stood restlessly waiting to approach the microphones. The bells in their pocket jingling as they shuffled from foot to foot.
Hamlet City Council member Tony Clewis welcomed the crowd before the ceremony began. As he approached the microphone a train whistled out in the distance.
“You know you’re in Hamlet,” Clewis said. “The train is going by.”
Monroe Avenue was up first as they sang “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer” and “Jingle Bells” — The latter appearing to be their favorite as they took out their sleigh bells and shook them in time with the singing.
First Presbyterian was up next singing “Away in a Manger,” “The Friendly Beasts” and “Silent Night.” Mia Grace Donnelly, 7, of Hamlet was all smiles as she finished up her singing with the group. She was dressed in her best with a Santa hat placed on her head like all the other kids from both schools.
The parents of the children were just as excited if not more excited than the children. They wandered around the area as they stood in awkward angles to take pictures of their child as they performed. Some parents even sat down in the very front on the cold ground just so they could get the best picture of the night.
Rodney Tucker, Hamlet police captain, sang “O Holy Night” for the citizens of the area — their clapping resounded as he came to a close.
Marchell Adams-David, Hamlet city manager, took the stage as she prepared to introduce Bobby Moser as the 2013 honorary citizen for the tree lighting.
“This is the most wonderful time of the year,” David said. “It is also a great opportunity to recognize an individual who has put a lot into this area and this town, especially into the Hamlet Depot.”
Moser was short in his address to the crowd as he began the countdown tot he lighting of the tree. The entire crowd counted down from five before light filled the area as the tree came to life.
As an added bonus, everyone sang “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” for the close of the ceremony. You could see the delight in the eyes of those around as they embraced one another, prepared to start off the month of December with a smile on their face.