The city of Temecula's 15th annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony Thursday had hundreds of residents laughing and singing in the glow of a 60-foot tree.
Held at the Temecula Duck Pond, caroling by Temecula Valley Children's Chorus, guest speakers and a visit from Santa Claus made the night festive.
The city prepared 350 hot dogs, gift bags and refreshments for revelers. Nearby Pat & Oscar's Restaurant also provided free bread sticks to many of the crowd.
“We really wanted this to be a community event where you could bring your family, enjoy one another and celebrate the holiday,” said Gail Zigler, senior coordinator of events for the city.
Zigler has coordinated the event since its inception 15 years ago, with the goal of providing a tradition for families within the community.
The turnout Thursday made it evident many have embraced the annual event.
The Payne family has made the ceremony a tradition. Mary Payne brought her son Trevor, 16, to see the tree.
“It’s my favorite part,” said Trevor, as the lights were switched on to mark the start of the city's 2012 holiday season.
For information on other city of Temecula holiday events, such as Santa's Electric Light Parade on Friday, Dec. 7, click here.