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America's Oldest Community Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony Set

Perkasie, a small borough in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, is thought to be where the tradition of an outdoor, lighted community Christmas tree began. The borough will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the event on Dec. 5.

Nov. 2, 2009 - PRLog -- Continuing a festive tradition that began in 1909 and has spread throughout the country, Santa Claus will arrive in Perkasie Borough to light the town’s community Christmas Tree Saturday, December 5 at approximately 7 p.m.

Preparations are underway for a celebration befitting such an historic occasion. A holiday fireworks display, food, music and special events for children will make it an unforgettable evening for young and old alike.

“We’ve been working hard for the past year putting this event together,” said Hope Fisher, president of the Perkasie Olde Towne Association. “This will be a special night in the history of Perkasie.”

Organized by POTA and supported by local businesses, the tree lighting ceremony marks the official beginning of the holiday season in the borough. In addition to the food, music and fireworks, old-fashioned horse-drawn carriage rides around town, a recitation of “’The Night Before Christmas,” warm cider and shopping specials create a fun, family atmosphere.

At one time, Perkasie, a blue collar community in upper Bucks County, about 30 miles north of Philadelphia, was known for its place in the cigar and baseball manufacturing industries. Now, the borough is laying claim as the birthplace of the community Christmas tree 100 years ago.

According to a book titled “Perkasie Firsts,” the idea of a community Christmas Tree originated in 1909 with members of the Perkasie Order of Owls. Not long after, Philadelphia, New York, and Williamsburg established their outdoor, lighted community Christmas trees, according to the book. Since then, thousands of communities across the nation have followed in Perkasie’s footsteps.

Perkasie’s first community Christmas Tree stood at the intersection of Seventh and Market streets, which, at the time, was the commercial center of the borough. Over the years, it appeared at other locations but recently returned to its original spot.

As it is in many towns that have adopted the tradition, the annual Christmas Tree lighting is a special event for young and old. Youngsters will wait with breathless anticipation for the fire truck sirens to announce Santa’s arrival. Even a few adults might have that twinkle in their eye, waiting for their first glimpse of Kris Kringle.

The festivities actually begin on Friday, December 4 with a model train display at the Perkasie Electric Department building at 120 N. 7th Street from noon until 8 p.m. Santa will make a special appearance as he is escorted through town on a fire truck from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

On Saturday, December 6 from noon until 5 p.m., there will be free rides and hot chocolate at the Perkasie Carousel and the model train display will operate from noon until 8 p.m.

Youngsters will be able to obtain a “Passport to the Kingdom of Sweets” that will take them on a magical journey throughout town as they hunt for special treats at participating businesses.

At 5:30 p.m., the horse-drawn carriage rides around town will begin. Music, including performances by the Sellersville Elementary School Chorus, the First Baptist Church Children’s Bell Choir, and the Pennridge Marching Band, will lead up to and continue after the 6 p.m. fireworks display.

Santa will arrive at approximately 7 p.m. to light the tree. Afterward, he will be available for photos sponsored by RE/MAX 440 at 7th and Market streets.

Many of the borough’s unique eateries and boutiques will be open all day, offering holiday food and shopping specials.

Perkasie’s Christmas Tree Lighting and Arrival of Santa is an endearing piece of Americana thousands of people have enjoyed over the last century.

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Source:Joe Ferry, Shadywood Communications Group
Location:Philadelphia - Pennsylvania - United States
Industry:Entertainment, Family, Event
Tags:Christmas Tree, Lighting
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