[Updated Dec. 11]
Despite the damp mist of the Dec. 7 evening, the township’s holiday lights brightly shined from Ridge Pike to a very large, yet-to-be-lit tree.
However, due to the weather, officials of the fourth-annual Tree Lighting event commented that the gravel parking lot by the township building should have been packed by 6 p.m.
But any worries event officials may have had over this year’s attendance were put to rest just a half-hour later as the gravel parking lot was filled with excited Lower Providence families.
“The kids love it and enjoy it,” Alberto Othuon, Lower Providence resident, said. “We’re waiting for the tree to light up.”
The tree, a 52-foot tall evergreen, stood in view between the township building complex and the Methacton Warriors football field.
Families, with their wide-eyed children, that gathered around the yet-to-be-lit tree, may have passed the time by guessing how many lights were wrapped around the tree ().
In previous years, 1,500 residents have been reported to attend the tree lighting event, which township officials say has been growing in popularity.
“I’ve seen it develop over the years,” Colleen Eckman, Lower Providence Supervisor, said at the event. “It’s becoming a very important tradition for a lot of township families.”
By 7 p.m., the crowd began to wildly cheer as the Lower Providence Fire Department dropped off Santa and Mrs. Claus to do the honor of lighting the tree.
Immediately after the tree lighting, Santa was whisked away to the township’s nearby Bocce courts, which was converted to the township’s Winter Wonderland, where families could take photos with the jolly man in the red suit.
While the lines were long, families enjoyed the Winter Wonderland’s grand display of holiday lights and animations.
“It’s a wonderful time, during the holidays,” Owen Rovinsky, an Audubon resident said.
Rovinsky, who was with his wife Ryan and two children, said this their second year at the Tree Lighting event, noting that Lower Providence is the first community they have lived in, where the township brought Santa to their families.
Outside the Winter Wonderland, the township invited several community businesses and organizations to help celebrate the season.
Free hot cocoa was given out by the Optimists International, while Penn Liberty Bank and Turkey Hill Mini-Marts gave out other refreshments.
Families were also invited to donate non-perishable food items at the event, which the Cub Scout Pack 119 of Evansburg collected for the township.
“It’s great anytime the cubs can come out and lend a hand,” Mike Kempster, cub master 119 said.
Songs of the season were also presented by the Arcola Intermediate School's Select Chorus, as well as the Methacton Community Players, many of whom dressed in caroling garb.
Overall, many of those in attendance considered the event another community success, and look forward to seeing it become a family tradition for years to come.
“I think it’s a great family event, something for all ages,” Sandi Hicks, Lower Providence resident and Lower Gwynedd Parks and Receretaion Director, said. “Look at all the kids, look at all the smiles. I think it’s going to be a memory they’re going to share with their kids.”