WILLIAMSTOWN - The community gathered Thursday to celebrate the season with the 16th annual Williamstown Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony.
Several hundred community members of all ages gathered on the city building lawn for fellowship, seasonal music and refreshments.
"We are so blessed to be able to celebrate this event together, with everyone," said Mayor Jean Ford. "During this season, let us remember the reason we are celebrating we, too like Jesus have been given the gift of life and what we do with it is what matters."
Not only did people stand on the lawn of the building at 100 Fifth St. but also on the sidewalk and in the street, which was closed to traffic.
Following the invocation by three area ministers, the Rev. Steven Gedon with the First United Methodist Church, pastor Elizabeth Campbell of the First Presbyterian Church and the Rev. Richard and Lisa Heller of Christ Memorial Episcopal Church, the Williamstown Elementary School Choir performed as they stood along the handicapped ramp. Many of the children were bundled against the chilly weather with hats, scarves and gloves as they performed.
The Williamstown High School Marching Band, with all members looking festive as they wore Santa Claus hats and one drummer with a fake beard, performed more traditional songs of the festive season along with the Wood County Christian School Elementary School Choir.
Following their musical performance, the Williamstown High School Choir led the crowd in a sing along of "Jingle Bells." After that, the Williamstown Elementary School Choir performed "Silent Night" in German before it led a second sing along of the traditional song.
The tree, which was planted in 1997 for Christmastime events, was covered in white lights and decorations prior to Thursday's event. The lights were lit prior to the invocation.
While the invocation was performed by Gedon, Campbell and the Hellers, the benediction was overseen by the Rev. Michael Horner of Williams Creek Baptist Church, the Rev. Steve DeLay of the Faith Bible Church, and the Rev. David Easter with First Baptist Church.
"As we celebrate the season, I hope we remember that it is not about trees or presents, but the presence of Christ in our lives," said Easter.
In closing, Easter added his own thoughts on the individuals who make up the community of Williamstown.
"We have an awesome community to reach out to others in this and every Christmas season," he said. "We have a lot to remember and be thankful for this time of year."
Refreshments of cookies, hot chocolate and coffee were provided by Tim Hortons following the event in the city council chambers.