Well over 100 individuals braved the cold temperatures Monday night to take in the 9th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at West Fargo City Hall.
Anna Lambertz, a student at Eastwood Elementary, had the honor of assisting Mayor Rich Mattern with the lighting of an 18-foot blue spruce tree that was planted only recently on the front lawn area of city hall.
Anna's coloring page was drawn from several student renditions submitted. She was also the recipient of a gift certificate to McDonald's, along with three other students whose drawings were selected for prizes, Tanner Kloster and Olivia Julia Mollet, students at the Early Childhood Center, and Abby Thomson, who attends South Elementary.
Those familiar with the ceremony were quick to notice the newly decorated tree. When the ceremony first started nine years ago, inspired by a suggestion from then Chamber executive Chris Barton, the evergreen tree on the north side of the building was decorated and lit. Then the ceremony was moved to the ash tree in front of City Hall.
Mayor Rich Mattern, who has served since the inception of the tree lighting ceremony, has always wanted a 'real' Christmas tree for the occasion so this year that want was finally realized with the acquisition of the new evergreen.
Public Works employee Art Peterson took on the responsibility of decorating it, in readiness for the Monday night lighting. The tree will continue to be lit at dusk for everyone driving by to enjoy throughout the holiday season.
The program also included musical entertainment by the West Fargo High School Carolers, a welcome from city finance director Sharon Schacher, who coordinated the event, words from Mayor Mattern, who selected the names of the winning students, and cider and cookies served by city staff Verna Mangin and Danette Olstad.
A high point was the arrival of Santa and the distribution of special treat packets by Santa and West Fargo City Commissioners.