Thousands of people packed the Historic Town Center Park to watch a 50-foot-tall Christmas tree light up Saturday night.
Although the brisk weather brought out hats, gloves and scarves, the large audience seemed warmed by the hours of entertainment, ranging from ’s orchestra to the Ballet Folklorico of San Juan Capistrano.
“As we observe the holiday season, we have much to be thankful for as a city and a nation,” said San Juan Capistrano Mayor Sam Allevato. “Although we have much work ahead in this difficult economy, we hope you will join [with us] and help the less fortunate this season.”
Performances by local musical theater groups dazzled the audience with high energy and colorful, snappy numbers.
“I enjoy watching the kids perform in this event,” said Mission Viejo resident Alex Radojicic. “A lot of the kids who play in the orchestra and marching band have grown up, and we are looking forward to the performances.”
The Ballet Folklorico kicked off the evening festivities with Mexican folk dances in bright and colorful traditional costumes. Behind the festivities, local shopkeepers and artisans were preparing for the mob that would ensue shortly after the Christmas tree-lighting. Many business owners kept shops open a few extra hours Saturday.
String quartets, carolers and cotton candy graced each street corner with sweet melodies and treats for passersby.