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Woodstocks first Community Tree Lighting draws a crowd

by: Courtesy of Mary Afarsi-Howard Firefighters from Woodstock’s Station 25 on 52nd helped string the lights on the Woodstock Boulevard community Christmas Tree on December 3rd.

As darkness fell and temperatures dropped to freezing, the front lawn of the Homestead Schoolhouse on S.E. Woodstock Boulevard next to the John L. Scott Real Estate agency was teeming with young families, neighbors, and firefighters - all waiting for the countdown for the first 'Woodstock Winter Wonderland Community Tree Lighting'.

This festive event, presented by the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), took place on Saturday, December 3rd.

Children wrote their names on ornaments donated by Key Bank and hung them on the tree. Firefighters from Station 25 on S.E. 52nd Avenue climbed a ladder to hang ornaments that were too high for children to place. Adults and children lined up for Papaccino's hot cocoa and coffee just up the street, and pastries provided by Marqeta from Mehri's Bakery on S.E. 52nd.

When the tree lights went on, everyone cheered, and Janaki DeChand from Lifehouse Church began singing carols, accompanying herself on guitar. The two hundred or so attendees, filling the yard and overflowing onto the sidewalk, joined in.

A month ago the WCBA approached Kiley and Keli Cronen, owners and operators of the Homestead Schoolhouse preschool, and asked if they would be willing to provide space for the tree in the Schoolhouse front yard. They agreed, and the 20-foot noble fir was donated by Otto's Sausage Kitchen.

Gretchen Eichentopf of Otto's revealed that she had planted the tree about twenty years ago as a small twig at their family farm in Longview, Washington. She specializes in growing noble firs so that every member of her family will have one, each year, for the Holidays.

Minutes before the tree lighting, Mistress of Ceremonies Tessah Danel, a key organizer of the event, and part of both the Key Bank staff and the Board of the WCBA, thanked the sponsors who made the festive event possible: The Woodstock Community Business Association, Papaccino's Coffee, the Woodstock UPS Store, Mixed Media Marketing, VCA Woodstock Animal Hospital, Key Bank, Mehri's Bakery, Lifehouse Church, and the Homestead Schoolhouse - which provided the lights for the tree and the electricity to keep it lit throughout the season.

After the lighting, Danel passed out candy canes to children, and slowly people began to wander away homeward, commenting on what a fun, festive, and old-fashioned way it had been to kick off the Holiday season. The lit tree will continue to delight those on Woodstock Boulevard till at least New Year's Eve.

Woodstock Christmas celebration includes Santa

By DAVID F. ASHTON, for THE BEE

Folks who wanted a family photo with Santa didn't have to go far, on December 3rd, when Santa Claus arrived at Papaccino's Coffee Shop in the Woodstock Shopping Center.

'I've been doing 'Pictures with Santa' at my coffee shop for the last three years,' said Papaccino's proprietor Sean Daugherty. 'This year, we thought we would be great to integrate it with the Woodstock Community Business Association (WCBA), and make it part of the community's celebration, later this evening.' [See story above.]

Funds raised for the event benefited the business association's community activities, Daugherty said. He is the current President of the WCBA.