Despite the rain, area residents and families celebrated the start of the holiday season at the 22nd Coventry Community Center Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony on Wednesday evening.
The Reminder provided songbooks for the families to help accompany the Pawtuxet Valley Community Chorus as they sang traditional carols.
Staff members of the Coventry Parks and Recreation Department also helped in creating and distributing holiday crafts for young children at several tables.
Complimentary cookies and apple juice were also served as everyone anxiously awaited the arrival of two special guests.
Then to the sound of flashing lights and a siren, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in style on a Coventry fire truck. As they entered the center, the Christmas tree indoors and outdoor light decorations set up by were simultaneously turned on.
Among those greeting Santa and Mrs. Claus were Kevin and Kristin Phillips, and their children, Olivia and Jameson, Coventry; Gina Dolan and son, Sean, of Cranston, with Aunt Maryann, Coventry; Morgan Roll and daughter, McKenzie, West Warwick and Robin Ferreira and daughters, Allison and Katelyn, with Nanna ‘Alice’, all of Coventry.
As the children and their parents waited patiently, pictures were taken as the youngsters quietly- and not so quietly- told Santa and his wife their holiday wishes.
“Any time a community gets together for the holiday it’s wonderful, especially for the little ones” said Kevin Phillips, attending the ceremony for the first time with his family. “It is exciting,” said his wide-eyed son, Jameson, between munches on a cookie.
“This is only the second time that we have held the ceremony indoors,” said Assistant Recreation Director Jason Lacciardi, proclaiming this another success for the town as they officially launched the 2011 holiday season.