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Christmas tree lighting celebrated

It’s about to become festive in the downtown core.

The 23rd annual Christmas Tree Lighting is set for Nov. 25 from 1-5 p.m. and everyone is invited to enjoy the holiday spirit.

Tina Stewart, executive director of the Abbotsford Downtown Business Association, said a full slate of entertainment and activities is planned.

“We have probably twice as many vendors this year selling Christmas crafts and baked goods.”

There will also be non-stop entertainment on the community stage, including performances from local dance schools and bands, including Topaz and Horizon.

Even Mayor Bruce Banman will be singing at the event.

“He was a big hit last year. I think he surprised a lot of people,” said Stewart.

As always, hot chocolate and cookies will be available for kids and adults alike.

At 3 p.m., Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive in a 1967 fire truck, accompanied by the SilverFox Squadron Marching Band, Abbotsford Police motorcycles, members of Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service and local mascots.

“It’s like a mini-parade.”

Santa will take a seat in his Santa House, which is being sponsored by Champagne and Lace. Kids can visit and tell him their Christmas wish lists.

There will also be four “make and take” craft booths for kids to enjoy.

At 5 p.m., the big moment arrives as the Christmas tree will be lit for the first time this season.

“We have a few additions to the tree this year. A few new surprise lights have been added,” said Stewart.

Other activities include a puzzle walk. For a minimum donation of $2, people can collect a puzzle piece from participating local merchants. Once they have collected all four pieces, they will be entered into a draw for a large gift basket. All proceeds go to Matthew’s House, a respite facility for children with severe disabilities. It is currently under construction as part of the Campus of Care, located next to Abbotsford Regional Hospital.

It’s not the only prize being given away. Stewart said thanks to the sponsorship of Investors Group, one lucky person will win a free trip. While details are still being worked out, the winner will get to choose from one of three vacation packages.

“It’s going to be a great event and, hopefully, the sun will be shining. I know it will,” said Stewart.

The downtown Christmas tree is located at the corner of Railway Street and Essendene Avenue. For more, visit downtownabbotsford.com.

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