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City Celebrates the Holidays in Historic Town Center Park

The annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony draws thousands on Saturday night.

Historic Town Center Park attracted more than 10,000 San Juan Capistrano residents to watch the annual Christmas tree lighting, as well as orchestral music, colorful dances and seasonal skits. Saturday evening saw a break from the wet weather, and despite the soggy grounds, the traditional celebration went on.

“If there had been rain, we made contingency plans,” said Special Events Coordinator Heidi Ivanoff. “We made plans to have canopies for rain or shine, but lucky for us, it didn’t rain and we were able to have our San Juan Christmas.”

Santa and city officials began the lighting countdown at about 6 p.m. after the evening’s entertainment concluded to light the 40-foot tall Deodor Cedar tree.

“Our tree lighting ceremony has taken place at different venues around the city,” said Ivanoff. “Over the past five years, our audience has grown from a few thousand to around 10,000.”

Following the tree lighting, crowds immediately migrated toward free cookies, pictures with Santa and free train rides off Verdugo Street. Children scampered to wait in line and cheered for a picture with Santa Claus.

Orchestral quartets as well as carolers set up alongside street corners to play and sing seasonal tunes while shops remained open for business for the evening. The mildly temperate evening saw no rain but a lot of residents enjoying the holiday spirit.

sjcnative1 December 03, 2012 at 03:47 AM
What a wonderful event that was ! A great job. I was somewhat saddened by the remarks of Mayor Kramer regarding our Christmas Tree when he called it a "Charlie Brown tree". There were a number of us that donated money and had our names on the wall around the base of the tree. We were told at the time that these tiles for our donation would always be there. It is very sad that the powers that be felt that the tiles should be removed and the promise broken of our donation of money always being remembered by the tiles around the base of the tree. Is this tree the most beautiful tree in the world? Nope. But, it is our tree. It is our tree, that while it may not be perfect like a tree at Disneyland or Fashion Island. It is our tree and it is what makes a small town like our so wonderful. But, when Mayor Kramer called our tree a "Charlie Brown tree", that was really very hurtful to us residents who work so hard to gather up and save our extra money to make a donation that has since been forgotten. Please Mayor Kramer, don't call our beautiful tree, a Charlie Brown tree.
Tom Marantz December 03, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I took Charlie Brown Tree as a term of endearment. It indeed is a beautiful tree, and looks great. Great event, but the traffic was a nightmare though! With so many people, maybe offsite parking with buses ferrying people in might be an option next year.
sjcnative1 December 03, 2012 at 07:32 PM
That is exactly the point. It is a beautiful tree. But, for Mayor Kramer to call it a Charlie Brown tree was a slap in the face to the residents of our city. Shame on Mayor Kramer.
Jonathan Volzke December 03, 2012 at 11:50 PM
You can sure tell whose term of office is up next from the "Common Sense" comments. We've had two years of attacks on Allevato and Freese, but with that election over less than a month, now it's going to be Kramer and Taylor in the sites. The tree is beautiful. It's a Charlie Brown tree because the top isn't strong enough to hold the star up straight. Maybe we can have Patch do a poll? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQeKdvXliIU
Clint Worthington December 04, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Jonathan, I did not see the name of anyone from Capistrano Common Sense on any of these comments. Could you please point out exactly which comment you are referring to?
Jonathan Volzke December 04, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Oh, I bet you can figure it out, too, Clint.
Clint Worthington December 04, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Jonathan, thank you, but it is not my job to figure it out. You made a statement, now I am asking that you back that statement up. Who is it exactly that you are referring to? I do not see the name of anyone from Capistrano Common Sense on these comments. As for "attacks", other than Dr. Byrnes asking Sam Allevato and Laura Freese not to run for City Council again, please point out to me exactly, the articles in Capistrano Common Sense that have "attacked" Laura Freese in the past two years as you have stated? Why is it that everyone who has a different opinion than you is being "attacked"?
Clint Worthington December 04, 2012 at 12:42 AM
From your statement, it appears that you have been reading Capistrano Common Sense both in print and online. Thank you.
sjcnative1 December 10, 2012 at 08:10 PM
I do agree with almost all of the areas of the Common Sense arena. However, neither my husband or I are in any type of membership with them. To tell you honestly, my husband and I just were pretty tired of your one way slanted views.

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