Record crowd gathers for Anoka tree lighting

Santa was greeted by thousands who gathered at the City Hall Plaza in Anoka for the annual community tree lighting event Saturday night.

Brent Anderson roasts a marshmallow for s’mores, along with Kelly and Kathy Kuhlman.

Brent Anderson roasts a marshmallow for s’mores, along with Kelly and Kathy Kuhlman.

Record attendance for the event had long lines of kids waiting for a visit with Santa in his new shack at city hall. He arrived downtown on top of an Anoka-Champlin Fire Department truck and stayed until 7:30 p.m. to visit with all the girls and boys.

An estimated crowd of 4,000 attended, according to Pete Turok, executive director for the Anoka Area Chamber of Commerce. The event size doubled over last year, no doubt due to warm temperatures.

Turok also said the tree lighting is also publicized throughout the metro.

While it was unseasonably warm, people were certainly in the holiday spirit.

Mayor Phil Rice, along with some help from Anoka’s Royal Ambassadors Anna Walch, Grace Watson and Hailee Gifford, flipped the switch to light the tree at 6 p.m.

There were also several bonfires, tended by the fire department, for roasting s’mores.

Hay rides courtesy of Roselawn Stables were also popular, with the line stretching up Second Avenue for most of the evening.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

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