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Ahoskie welcomes holiday season

AHOSKIE – It even felt like Christmas.

On a night fit for gloves, scarves and heavy coats, well over 100 people braved the near-freezing temperature to attend the Town of Ahoskie’s annual Christmas Tree lighting ceremony.

As it tradition, the event was staged at No Man’s Land Park in downtown Ahoskie, the location of the town’s 42-foot Christmas tree.

“What a great way to start the Christmas season here in Ahoskie,” offered the town’s mayor, Linda Blackburn, as she surveyed the large crowd. “We’re so blessed that you’re here and what a great turnout this is. We started this just a few years ago and there couldn’t have been more than five to 10 people in attendance. It warms my heart to see such a big crowd on a cold night.”

One of the major reasons behind the increase in onlookers is a boost in the number of event participants. This year’s ceremony saw Christmas carols performed by four different groups – Soul Saving Station Choir, Hertford County High School Chorus, the Carpenter’s Shop and the duet of Tonya Edwards and Patrick Rose – compared to just two in years past.

This year’s event was also extremely interactive with the youth in attendance. Clara Darden gathered the youngsters around her as she sat and read “Children’s Christmas Story: The Birth of Jesus.”

Additionally, the children were treated to a special visit from Santa Claus, who arrived by the Ahoskie Fire Department’s antique fire truck. Santa spent time with each child, listening carefully to their Christmas wishes.

This year’s official tree-lighting duties were handled by outgoing Ahoskie Town Councilman Ronald Gatling. He was assisted by members of Boy Scout Troop #129.

Afterwards, those in attendance helped themselves to hot apple cider, hot chocolate and cookies.