It’s a tradition held in front of the Manteca Civic Center each year when Mayor Willie Weatherford switches on the lights of the city’s live Christmas tree amid carolers filling the night with songs of the season.
The lighting ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, with members of the community invited to bring their favorite ornaments to be hung on the tree once the lights have been turned on.
A high school fire baton group is going to display their talents and Youth Focus teens will lead the singing of such songs as “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,” “Jingle Bells” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”
A community sing-along of Christmas carol favorites will follow inside the Manteca Senior Center at 295 Cherry Lane where former Mayor Jack Snyder is scheduled to open his book once again reading, what else, but “’Twas the Night Before Christmas” to children after they have seen old St. Nick in person.
Santa is said to be arriving by sled and has reserved a hidden secret parking spot waiting for him outside the Senior Center. Hot chocolate and cookies are being provided for everyone by the seniors.
Also on tap is continued singing of more old favorites with song sheets provided by the volunteers of the senior center who are being credited with decorating the interior of the building in true holiday style.
In the lobby of the Senior Center is a “We Care Tree” with cards for seniors who need to be remembered by someone in the community. These cards represent shut-ins and those without family close to them, and serve as a wish list.
Santa has it on his calendar to return to Manteca on Saturday, Dec. 8, to have breakfast with boys and girls at the Senior Center beginning at 9 a.m. Cost is $6 and the menu includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice or milk. The children will receive a picture with Santa and a gift from him along with a crafts project. Tickets are available at the Manteca Senior Center at 295 Cherry Lane and must be purchased in advance.