Families gather in cold to light holiday tree

Despite an exceptionally frigid night, a crowd of about 500 was on hand to celebrate the annual lighting of Anoka’s holiday tree.

The event was held in the Riverfront Plaza at Anoka City Hall from 5-7 p.m. Saturday.

Most were grateful for the four bonfires lit on the plaza, where people could huddle and keep warm.

Kids still lined up for a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, where they shared their wish lists and were treated to a candy cane. Santa arrived on a vintage Anoka Fire Department truck and there were also horse-drawn trolley rides through the city streets.

The tree was donated by Tom and Brenda McKnight from their yard on Colfax Avenue in Anoka and will be lit up in front of city hall through the holiday season.

During the tree lighting, Mayor Phil Rice said Tom had always wanted to decorate the tree in his yard, but it was so big he couldn’t get it done.

Warm treats including chili, hot dogs and hot cocoa were also for sale by the Anoka Rotary Club.

Santa arrived at the festivities on a vintage fire truck. Photos by Mandy Moran Froemming Peyton Evans, 4, has a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Santa Shack at Anoka’s holiday tree lighting on Saturday. Peyton was in Anoka visiting her grandparents, Jean and Larry Tong. Despite very frigid temperatures, kids lined up for a visit with Santa. Friends and families gathered round the four bonfires on the plaza to keep warm. Mayor Phil Rice gets the crowd ready for the countdown to the tree lighting. The city’s holiday tree, all lit up. Photo by Pam Bowman
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Peyton Evans, 4, has a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the Santa Shack at Anoka’s holiday tree lighting on Saturday. Peyton was in Anoka visiting her grandparents, Jean and Larry Tong.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]

  • Pat Walker

    So as the Council puts a moratorium on emergency housing and people are freezing, they sit around fires for photos and sing songs. Totally unacceptable. Replace the moratorium with a provisional permit to get through the emergency that is occurring now.