PIONEER — Community members gathered downtown Saturday evening to celebrate the holiday season as, for the fifth straight year, the large evergreen outside the Pioneer Community Center was ceremonially lit.

There was a slight chill in the air, but nothing a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate — served up at the gazebo, along with chocolate chip cookies — couldn’t fix.

And as village council member Connie Salisbury remarked just before the tree was lit, “This is actually the best weather we’ve had all day.”

Salisbury came up with the tree-lighting tradition in memory of her daughter, Tiffanie, who died from cancer in 2014.

Mayor Ed Kidston provided some welcoming remarks before turning the microphone over to North Central music teacher Crystal Gillaspy, who led the crowd in a holiday sing-a-long, ending with “Silent Night,” which, she opined, “should be sung at every Christmas tree lighting.”

Kidston then welcomed all the children in attendance to come to the front, close their eyes and image what they wanted for Christmas, and then count down from 10 with the colorful lights turning on when they got to zero.

“This gets bigger and I see more people out here every year,” Kidston said of the event.

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