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Pahrump Community Christmas Tree lights up the night

Christmastime is officially in full swing and in Pahrump, the most wonderful time of the year is always welcomed to the valley with what has become a beloved tradition, the Community Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

Hosted Saturday, Nov. 30 in the parking lot of the Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino, the 6th Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting once again attracted a big crowd of area residents and their families for what event organizer Karen Jackson of KNYE Radio hailed as the most outstanding lighting ceremony yet.

“This was our best lighting ever!” an obviously ecstatic Jackson raved following the event. “No wind, rain or snow. I was very happy with the turnout, everyone seemed to be enjoying the lighting.”

Bundled up in warm coats and jackets, scarves and gloves, the community headed out to take in the sights and sounds of the Christmas kickoff event, many sporting Santa hats and other holiday garb. While there, attendees were able to indulge in cookies and hot cocoa as they enjoyed classic holiday tunes sung by the Pahrump Community Choir.

The arrival of Santa on a shiny red fire engine sent a wave of anticipation through the throng as children surged toward the man in the red suit and his faithful elf companion, roles taken this year by Don Stout and Carey Stone. Beaming brightly with cheeks burnished red from the frosty weather, the youngsters approached merry Old Saint Nick to relay their Christmas wishes as their parents eagerly snapped keepsake pictures.

“It’s the most magical time of the year, when people seem more giving and understanding of others. Family and friends seem closer for this brief moment of the year,” Jackson said of her fondness for the Christmas season.

As for the reason behind the effort to bring the community Christmas tree to life each year, Jackson said, “Why do I do this? If more people would come watch the kids decorate our community Christmas tree, that would explain why I do this every year. The kids take ownership of that tree every year. It is heartwarming and reminds me of what Christmas is about. Then there are the less fortunate kids who won’t have a tree this year but they can come to the lighting and feel the spirit as well as talk to Santa.”

Jackson gave a shout-out of thanks to the many people and entities involved in making the Community Christmas Tree Lighting a success, including Valley Electric Association and Pahrump Nugget engineers, who worked together to erect the tree, as well as Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue Service for escorting Santa Claus to the event.

Thanks also went out to the Pahrump Community Choir for their beautiful music, the Pahrump Nugget for the refreshments provided, the Pahrump Tourism Advisory Committee for the donation of new ornaments to decorate the tree and of course, to Stout and Stone for their work as Santa and his elf.

Though the lighting ceremony is undoubtedly a highlight of the Christmas season, the community Christmas tree is not just a gathering place for one brief night. Residents and visitors regularly stop by to enjoy the sight throughout the entire month. The tree makes a festive backdrop for photographs and Jackson said families are more than welcome to head over to capture their own special memories to cherish for years to come.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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