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November 9, 2004 > Traditional Kick-Off To a Season of Cheer

Traditional Kick-Off To a Season of Cheer

by Praveena Raman

The day after Thanksgiving marks the start of fun filled Christmas tree lighting ceremonies throughout the nation. Historically, tree lighting ceremonies can be traced back to the pre-Christian era when golden apples and candles were hung from oak trees. The use of evergreen trees as part of the Christian tradition started in Germany over 400 years ago and by the 19th century, had spread throughout Europe. The first community tree lighting ceremony in the United States took place in 1923 under President Calvin Coolidge. This also marked the start of the annual National Tree Lighting ceremony. This year the National Tree Lighting ceremony will take place December 2 at the White House.

Starting on Friday, November 26 the Tri-City area will also have a variety of tree lighting ceremonies with a few events in the early part of November. The ceremonies vary from the elaborate Niles parade and the Centerville "Holidays Around the World" display with Santa arriving by train, to the simple but elegant tree lighting ceremonies with music from local High School and community choirs. Together with the fun and cheer each event also reminds the community that this is a season of giving and sharing. The Trees of Angels, sponsored by the Washington Hospital Foundation in various Tri-City locations, provides the community a unique opportunity to give and share. People can buy a light or an angel to decorate the tree in remembrance of a loved one while supporting the Washington Hospice that serves the Tri-City area. The Foundation, together with McDonalds, also sponsors another unique event in December to raise awareness of hospice care. For $5 families enjoy breakfast with two of children's favorite celebrities, Ronald McDonald and Santa, and also enjoy a magic show and treats from Santa's bag. This year the breakfast is on Saturday, December 4 (See details below).

The fourth annual Festival of Lights parade in Niles on Friday November 26, will have 60 entries featuring Star War characters, Castro Valley Jugglers juggling flames, Fremont Swim School's antique fire engine and for the first time, the final float sponsored by Fremont Flowers, will be carrying Santa and Mrs. Claus. "Mrs. Lorenz, Dirk's mother, is Mrs. Claus," said Marie Dear, co-chair of the Festival of Lights event in Niles. "People can take free pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus after the parade." Marie Dear also added that this year the Niles event will feature a Best Window contest for shops in town. Everyone is invited to cast their votes. Shops will be open late in the evening and ballots will be available at Moment-In-Time, Morning Glory Antique, Side-Street Antique and S&H Antiques.

The Centerville Tree Lighting event will take place on Sunday November 28, starting 1 p.m. In Centerville, Santa and Mrs. Claus always arrive by train, and this year their expected time of arrival is 3 p.m. This event will have displays of "Holidays Around the World" and more. There will also be a Memorial Wreath walk along Fremont Blvd. This year, apart from local businesses, the City of Fremont Family Resource Center is also a sponsor.

Listed below are the different Tree Lighting ceremonies around the Tri-City area that celebrate community, giving and sharing.

November 9th - 5:30 p.m. Trees of Angels Tree Lighting Ceremony, Fremont Hub near Office Max, Fremont Entertainment provided by the Fremont Christian High School Living Water Vocal Ensemble. Community members can buy a symbolic light for $10 or a commemorative Hospice Angel for $50. For ticket or sponsorship information, please call the Foundation at (510) 791-3428 or email foundation@whhs.com. Or visit www.treesofangels.org.

November 12th through December 5th - Table Top Trees Silent Auction - Niles, Fremont Participating Niles District merchants are offering one-of-a-kind eclectically decorated Table Top Trees in a silent auction starting Nov. 12th, closing December 5th. High bidders can pick up their trees Sunday December 5th. Half of all proceeds will be donated to Fremont Education Foundation, and half to benefit Niles District revitalization efforts. Details including participating merchants can be found at http://www.niles.org/events.htm.

November 19th (6 - 8 p.m) & 20th (12 - 2 p.m.) 5th Annual Magical Forest, Fremont - A benefit for the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation Trees of Angels and the Fremont Symphony Orchestra. Champagne Celebration on Friday, followed by an elegant luncheon on Saturday. Located at Washington West, Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, 2500 Mowry Avenue. Tickets are $75 for each event. For ticket or sponsorship information, please call the Foundation at (510) 791-3428 or email foundation@whhs.com. Or visit www.treesofangels.org.

November 26th - 6 - 9 p.m. Niles Tree Lighting Ceremony and Parade, Fremont (Sponsored by the Niles Merchants Association)

The fourth annual Niles Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting Ceremony will start at around 6 p.m. with the national anthem sung by Wendy Dowd, whose husband Sgt. Dan Dowd has just returned from Kosava. The parade will start soon after that at Sullivan Underpass and will end at J Street. This year's parade will feature community member Gary King as the parade Grand Marshall. The parade has 60 entries featuring high school bands, Castro Valley jugglers, Star Wars characters, Santa and Mrs. Claus and more. Businesses on Niles Blvd. will be open late for Christmas shopping. There will also be a Nest Window contest judged by the public. Deca clubs of Irvington and Mission high schools will be sponsoring food booths. The streets around Niles will close at 4:30 p.m. For more information call (510) 792-8023.

November 28th - 1 -7 p.m. Centerville Tree Lighting Ceremony - Centerville Historic Train Depot, 37260 Fremont Blvd., Fremont

The Centerville Business Association invites the community to join in celebrating the holiday season by decorating their homes and businesses. Prizes will be awarded to the Best House, Best Block and Best Business. Santa and Mrs. Claus will be arriving by train at 3 p.m. Pictures can be taken with Santa. There will be a Holiday Craft Fair, "Village of Diversity Display, free toys for kids, cookies and drinks. Memorial wreaths can be purchased to light up the lampposts in Centerville. The Memorial Wreath walk will be along Fremont Blvd. For more information please visit http://www.cbafremont.com/tree%20lighting%20info%202004.htm or call (510) 790- 9398 or (510) 797-1210.

November 29th - 6 p.m. Tree of Angels Tree Lighting Ceremony at McDonald's Restaurant located at 42800 Mission Blvd. at Highway 680 in Fremont

An outdoor Tree of Angels made out of 12,000 lights and containing angels, doves and stars will be lit at 6 p.m. Entertainment will be provided by the St. Joseph Church Adult Choir. Community members can buy a symbolic light for $10 or a commemorative Hospice Angel for $50. For ticket or sponsorship information, please call the Foundation at (510) 791-3428 or email foundation@whhs.com. Or visit www.treesofangels.org.

November 30th - 5:30 p.m. Tree of Angels Tree Lighting Ceremony at Holiday Inn Express, 31140 Alvarado-Niles Road, Union City
Community members can buy a symbolic light for $10 or a commemorative Hospice Angel for $50. For ticket or sponsorship information, please call the Foundation at (510) 791-3428 or email foundation@whhs.com. Or visit www.treesofangels.org.

December 3rd - 6 p.m. Warm Springs Tree Lighting Ceremony - in front of Spin-A-Yarn Restaurant, 45915 Warm Springs Blvd., Fremont
For more information contact Jim Ferguson, lq0169gm@laquinta.com.
December 4th - Breakfast with Santa and Ronald McDonald, Washington West, Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditorium, 2500 Mowry Avenue, Fremont

Registration begins at 8 a.m., breakfast served at 8:30. Reservations recommended. $5 per person. For ticket or sponsorship information, please call the Foundation at (510) 791-3428 or email foundation@whhs.com.
December 4th - 6 p.m. Mission Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Old School Business Center (Mission Blvd. & Cedar Street, across from Ohlone College), Fremont (Sponsored by the Mission San Jose Chamber of Commerce) Admission free. There will be carol singing by the Mission San Jose High School Chamber Chorale. Santa will arrive at 6:15 p.m. Community members are encouraged to bring a donation of canned goods for the Tri-City Volunteers Food Bank. For more information, call 510-873-7701.

December 5th - 5 p.m. Irvington Monument Lighting Ceremony - at the Five Corners in Irvington, Fremont (Sponsored by the Irvington Business Association) The Irvington Monument will be lit around 5 - 5:30 p.m. There will be a lot of fun, singing and good cheer.

December 6th - 6:15 p.m. Carl Pierce Memorial Tree Lighting Ceremony - Newark Civic Center, Newark (Sponsored by City of Newark and LOV Newark)

This traditional program includes holiday caroling, refreshments and special visits from the Newark Memorial Cougar Chords and Santa. Event is held in cooperation with LOV-Newark. For further information, call the Recreation and Community Services department at 742-4437.

December 9th - 6 p.m. Tree of Angels Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Silliman Center, 6800 Mowry Avenue, Newark Remarks by Mayor David Smith and entertainment provided by the Cougar Chords. Community members can buy a symbolic light for $10 or a commemorative Hospice Angel for $50. For ticket or sponsorship information, please call the Foundation at (510) 791-3428 or email foundation@whhs.com. Or visit www.treesofangels.org.

 
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