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Rain forces ‘Plan B’ but does little to spoil Tree of Lights Ceremony
Tree of Lights
Ric Comparo and the Stockton Singers entertained those at the 29th annual event held in the Doctors Hospital of Manteca conference room as Plan B following a day of wet weather. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT

A change was necessary Thursday for the 29th annual Tree of Lights Ceremony in Manteca.

Tree of Lights
The tree sparkled with memories once again Thursday at the corner of East North Street and Cottage Avenue during the Manteca Tree Lighting Ceremony. - photo by VINCE REMBULAT
After a day of wet weather, the tree lighting was switch from outdoor to indoor at Doctors Hospital of Manteca, to the adjacent conference room just outside of the actual evergreen tree at East North Street and Cottage Avenue.

Not did it put a damper on the situation.

Santa and Mrs. Claus still made a special appearance, providing stuffed animals for the kids in attendance.

The Stockton Singers, under the direction of Ric Comparo, performed holiday carols in the comforts of the conference room.

“This was our Plan B in case of rain,” said Hospice of SJ board member Penny Mallette.

She called this night of community a “time for remembrance,” pointing out that each of the LED lights on the tree represented a loved one.

The Manteca Tree Lighting Ceremony is one of eight in neighboring communities throughout the county.

It was also a time of reflection and healthy grieving, Mallette added.

Preston Clark is the Chief Strategy Officer at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. He’s been at the helm for the past four years and looks forward to the tree-lighting.

“It still takes my breath away,” he said.

The work of decorating all eight hospice trees in SJC was that of PG&E.

“It took them several Saturdays but in the end was a labor of love,” said P/R officer Dylan George of PG&E.

The moment of the actual tree lighting took place outside, where the weather cooperated — no rain.

Most stepped out of the conference room in time to say: “Light the Tree.”

And with that, the large tree all but officially signaled the holidays.