Building a family tradition

Rockingham hosts 12th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

* Updated Christmas time events list

ROCKINGHAM — Christmas carols, hot chocolate and cookies.

Thousands of area children and their families have enjoyed the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at Cole Plaza over the last 11 years. On Tuesday, Robert Potter helped the tradition stay alive and get better in its 12th year. After all, if an 11-year-old boy can withstand open heart surgery — as Robert, a Rockingham Middle School sixth-grader, did last month — then just about anyone can find a reason to smile during the holiday season.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Brian Baucom, of Rockingham, holds 20-month-old Maddox. Also at the Tree Lighting Ceremony Tuesday was wife Genny, Braden, 5, and Maddox's twin brother, Owen.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Brian Baucom, of Rockingham, holds 20-month-old Maddox. Also at the Tree Lighting Ceremony Tuesday was wife Genny, Braden, 5, and Maddox’s twin brother, Owen.

Robert, his parents Wayne and Hope and some 200 others helped kick off the Christmas season in Rockingham Tuesday night at Cole Plaza. More than 50 members of the L.J. Bell Elementary School choir started the festivities with a series of carols, including “The 12 Days of Christmas,” “Deck the Halls” and “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”

Mayor Steve Morris welcomed everyone to the ceremony and acknowledged the choir’s performance.

“Boys and girls, you did great,” Morris beamed.

Morris reminded the crowd that workers from the Seaboard Station Restaurant were ready to serve hot chocolate and cookies — sugar and chocolate chip. He then led the crowd in counting down from 10 to the moment when Robert flipped the switch to light the 42-foot artificial Christmas tree.

Those in attendance clapped with enthusiasm, then the L.J. Bell choir, under the direction of Kacey Matheson, started up again. They ended with “Here We Come a Caroling” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.”

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Judy Page, right, of Seaboard Station Restaurant, is helped by Machelle Pappas and city employee Larry Harrelson in serving hot chocolate and cookies Tuesday after the 12th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Judy Page, right, of Seaboard Station Restaurant, is helped by Machelle Pappas and city employee Larry Harrelson in serving hot chocolate and cookies Tuesday after the 12th annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

The lighting of the tree caps city workers’ efforts over the past several days to put up lights, holiday-themed banners and decorate Harrington Square in advance of the 18th annual Christmas on the Square. The one-day festival is set to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Rockingham.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com The L.J. Bell Elementary School Choir performed several Christmas carols before and after the tree lighting.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
The L.J. Bell Elementary School Choir performed several Christmas carols before and after the tree lighting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Outdoors, Rockingham

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