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[KHTS] – The holiday season kicked off on Saturday with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus and the inaugural “Light Up Main Street” block party which featured a new “Community Tree” in downtown Newhall.
For years the holiday season in the Santa Clarita Valley was ushered in by the annual Community Tree lighting on the grounds of Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia.Left to right, C.R. Bob Hudson, Laurene Weste, Ken Striplin, Bob Kellar, Marsha McLean and TimBen Boydston light up Main Street in downtown Newhall.
However, after the traditional community tree was forced to make way for a new parking garage at the hospital, a 23-foot Christmas tree was installed outside of the Lyons Avenue entrance to the Old Town Newhall Library.
In addition to the tree, Main Street in Old Town Newhall has been transformed into a winter wonderland as thousands of lights, a lighted sleight with Santa and reindeer and festive banners have transformed downtown Newhall.
Young carolers introduced a festive note to the official ceremonies as Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar showed off a light-up holiday tie he was given by Gail Ortiz, Santa Clarita communications manager, for the event.
After the singing of the National Anthem by Madison Marigold, the official lighting ceremony began.
“Look at the crowd that has come out tonight. This is phenomenal,” said Kellar. “Give yourself a round of applause.”
Kellar also acknowledged the organizations that helped with the event. “Without the support of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation and the Santa Clarita Valley Auto Dealers Association this wouldn’t be possible here tonight,” Kellar said.
C.R. “Bob” Hudson, senior vice president and chief financial officer of Henry Mayo, represented the community hospital on the podium.
The new Community Tree on Lyons Avenue outside of the Old Town Newhall Library. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.“We had a tree lighting ceremony at the hospital for 27 years,” he said. “I thank Newhall Land for starting that, the Gump family for decorating our tree down there for so long, but we’re growing down at Henry Mayo.”
He described the new parking structure and education building that have been added to the campus.
“Now we’re going to build a 350-car underground parking structure right where the old Christmas tree used to be,” he said. “The hospital is growing to meet the needs of the community.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus also spoke to the crowd.
“Ho, ho, ho,” said Santa.
“We appreciate being here this evening,” said Mrs. Claus. “How nice it is to be here tonight in Santa Clarita on this beautiful night.”
Kellar told the crowd that the city has put “a lot of effort here on Main Street.”
“I don’t need to tell you folks, think back over the last three, four years, on what we have accomplished here on Main Street,” he said. “The new library, the roundabout at the other end and all the new businesses, we’re very excited about.”
Kellar said it was decided to celebrate all the changes in downtown Newhall with “a great extravaganza of Christmas lights and holiday lights to be enjoyed by all of the Santa Clarita Valley.”
A symbolic plug and socket, decorated with red garland, was “plugged” in to light the tree and the holiday décor on Main Street by City Councilwomen Laurene Weste and Marsha McLean. City Councilman TimBen Boydston and City Manager Ken Striplin were also on hand for the ceremony.
After a countdown of three-two-one ended with the illumination of the Community Tree and lights along Main Street the attending crowd erupted with a loud cheer.Santa and Mrs. Claus are interviewed by Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar. Photo by Michele E. Buttelman.
Attendees to the block party also enjoyed visits with Santa, seasonal refreshments, holiday music, and photo opportunities on the holiday themed Hometown Trolley.
The Santa Clarita Valley Automobile Dealers Association and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital helped sponsor the “Light Up Main Street” event with the city of Santa Clarita. The Old Town Newhall Association provided free refreshments for attendees.
Prior to the “Light Up Main Street” ceremony, dozens of businesses in Old Town Newhall hosted the block party while offering discounts and special programming. The block party was organized and supported by several business owners including representatives from The Boutique, Fresh, Ma Maison, Luscious Soul, Tribute Beauty Lounge, Results Fitness, Mirror Mirror, Fleur Wellness Spa, W.O.L.V.E.S. Surf Shop and the Spice in Life.