Excitement in the air: North Augusta Christmas tree lights up for the season
A little after 6 p.m. Tuesday night, a switch was flipped and downtown North Augusta lit up as part of the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting, bringing the holiday season to life.
Before the lights were switched on, those gathered to watch roasted marshmallows provided by the Boy Scouts and listened to Christmas carols, courtesy of the chorus and bands at Paul Knox and North Augusta middle schools.
North Augusta Mayor Bob Pettit introduced Adyson and Sophie Wise, who together turned on the lights in Calhoun Park.
“You know the evergreen tree was an ancient symbol of life in the midst of winter,” Pettit said before the big moment. “Now it is a symbol of hope and holiday spirit. And let’s not forget the reason for the season.”
Along with Adyson and Sophie, Pettit brought up another special guest. Santa Claus told Pettit North Augusta is one of his favorite places to visit, and said his reindeer were in “fantastic flying shape” and that the elves were putting in overtime.
Pettit told Santa that he has his Christmas list made and ready to send to Santa.
“You’ve been good this year?” Santa asked.
Pettit joked, “Well, there’s a lot of divided opinions on whether or not I’ve been good this year.”
Adyson, 10, and Sophie, 9, also knew what they wanted for Christmas. Sophie will be asking for a baby doll, a trampoline and a gymnastics bar. Adyson also wants a baby doll, as well as a yo-yo.
The girls said they liked Christmas, and Sophie said it is her favorite holiday. The girls said they like helping decorate their Christmas tree at home, and said helping turn on the decorations for the whole city on was exciting.
After the lights were switched on, people were welcomed into historic Lookaway Hall to meet with Santa one-on-one.
Rick Meyer, the city’s director of parks, recreation and tourism, said decorating the City of North Augusta begins in October by making sure everything is in working order, and that this year, weather had workers decorating up until the last minute.
Meyer said lighting the Christmas tree is a tradition all over the county, and is a big deal to the community, especially the children in North Augusta.
“There’s excitement in the air,” Meyer said.
Karl Waldhauer, superintendent of parks, recreation and tourism, said the location of the tree, where Georgia Avenue and Carolina Avenue split, is like the “beacon of the city,” with the Christmas tree lighting providing a meeting point for folks in the city.