Holiday season shines

Annual tree lighting draws thousands
By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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It’s a seasonal favorite for thousands, the annual holiday tree lighting in Historic Folsom that attracts residents and regional visitors, growing in popularity each year. Last Friday night, this classic holiday affair saw another impressive crowd who chose Historic Folsom as their site to ring in the holiday in classic Folsom style.

“Because of the generosity of our sponsors, the Folsom Historic District Association was able to turn the district into a scene worthy of a Christmas card once again,” said Judy Collinsworth, executive director of the Folsom Historic District Association. “This is one of our merchants’ favorite events because it brings so many people to the district. It was a night where the community came together to enjoy each other and the magic of Christmas.

Shortly before 5 p.m., Sutter Street was buzzing with activity as many families made it a special night out. After visiting many of the local shops and eateries on the street, most patrons ventured over to the area of the amphitheater and the holiday ice rink to partake in the evening festivities leading up to the lighting of the tree.

Throughout the evening, choir and dance performances filled the streets and plaza with children, while parents proudly took photographs. The horse drawn wagons carried people through the streets as manmade snow fell from the balconies throughout the street.

Shortly after 7 p.m., the large crowd squeezed around the holiday ice rink as Folsom Historic District Association President Karen Holmes was joined by Mayor Steve Miklos to perform the ceremonial countdown from the balcony of the new Folsom Roundhouse that will be home to Scott’s Seafood and Willamette Valley Vineyards’ Folsom Wineworks.

However, Miklos had a heckler arrive in the form of The Grinch, who hijacked the microphone for an entertaining session that had its share of comedic holiday fun. The character was played well by professional actor Steve Minow, who added a memorable new twist to this Folsom holiday classic.

“Even the Grinch that showed up during the countdown couldn’t stop the Christmas Tree from lighting up,” Collinsworth said. “Thanks to the clock on the tower, our count down was a bit early. Our apologies to anyone who missed it.”  

Representatives from Willamette were in attendance of Friday’s events. The event marked the first time the management team of Folsom’s newest wine business saw what Christmas is all about in the city they will call home in a few months.

“The tree lighting event was such a huge success thanks to the Folsom Historic District and all the sponsors, and we were so excited to be a part of it,” said Laura Kotowicz, manager of the soon to be open Folsom Wineworks. “We just feel so lucky to be coming into such an amazing community as Folsom and look forward to our future here and more wonderful community events such as this.”

Friday’s magical evening was presented by the Folsom Historic District Association; sponsored in part by the City of Folsom along with Home Depot, Allstate Julie Domenick Agency, Green Acres Nursery & Supply, Bayside Folsom, Lakeside Church, Kikkoman, AT&T, Central Valley Community Bank, California Family Fitness, My Kids Dentist, Bernau Development and Historic Folsom Station, The Folsom Telegraph and Renewal by Anderson

“There are so many people who help make this event wonderful,” Collinsworth said. “We appreciate everyone who contributed this year. Sponsors, staff and especially our volunteers who helped the event run smoothly.”

Now that the Christmas tree is aglow in the center of the ice rink, the Folsom Historic District Association wants to remind everyone that ice skating is taking place daily. It’s a great time of the year to visit Historic Folsom for shopping, dining, ice skating and street strolling that offers plenty of free parking.