Christmas is in the air and for eight consecutive years in the Pahrump Valley, the holiday season has been heralded by what has become a much-loved community tradition, the Community Christmas Tree Lighting.
Always scheduled for the Saturday following Thanksgiving, this year’s illumination ceremony was held on Nov. 27 and families from all around town, bundled into coats and jackets, with hats and scarves to keep warm, made their way to the Pahrump Nugget parking lot for an evening of festive fun.
With the lights adorning the towering Christmas tree set to be lit at 6 p.m., the area was already swarming with people by 5:45 p.m. and the atmosphere was charged with excitement and cheer. A line of lighting ceremony attendees wound its way through the parking lot as parents and children waited to receive their free coffee, cocoa and cookies, but the moment that the Pahrump Valley Fire and Rescue truck bearing Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived, there was a sudden rush to welcome the pair as they stepped down from their prestigious conveyance and made their way into the crowd.
Beaming with a jolly grin, Santa spoke for a few moments with child after child, with Mrs. Claus at his side, sharing season’s greetings. Eager mothers and fathers snapped photographs, capturing memories to last a lifetime and laughing with delight at the sight of their children’s bright, happy faces. Even some adults got into the holiday spirit by posing for a photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus as well.
As the clock neared the appointed time, attention then turned to the Community Christmas Tree itself and a countdown was struck up, ending in the flipping of the switch. Suddenly, the darkened tree was ablaze with shining lights of many colors, throwing their radiance onto the array of ornaments and causing them to twinkle with their own reflected light. Smiles and nods of appreciation were shared before the crowd began to make its way toward the tree, where Santa and the missus had stationed themselves to continue their interaction with the youngsters.
All of this Christmas cheer was made possible by Karen Jackson and KNYE Radio. While this is only the 8th Annual Community Christmas Tree Lighting, Jackson has been bringing a community tree to the town for many years and she said it is something that she had always enjoyed doing, especially for the kids. This year’s lighting ceremony was even more special, considering that the event had to go virtual in 2020 due to the pandemic and this was the first time in two years that the community had been able to come together to celebrate the opening of the holiday season at the event.
“We had such a great turnout and the weather could not have been more perfect. I was so glad so many participated in our tradition, considering all the COVID mess,” Jackson told the Pahrump Valley Times afterward, concluding with a cheerful, “ Merry Christmas everyone!”
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org