City of Stafford to revamp tree-lighting ceremony and offering holiday specials for residents
By Karen Daniels
For 15 years, the City of Stafford has held a tree lighting ceremony to usher in the holiday season. This occasion was started by the Stafford Historical Society so that they could dress up the Island and encourage others to decorate as well. Ten years ago with the addition of the Stafford Centre, the location was relocated. This year, the city is making some changes and giving back to residents.
For starters, this year’s the tree lighting ceremony is being revamped. Susan Ricks and Karen Austin discussed with Council their desire to make this year’s party a “focus on the children” having fun. This year’s theme: “Santa’s Village Comes to Stafford” will be held on Tuesday, December 3 from 5:30pm – 8:00pm and will be “come and go” style. Due to a late Thanksgiving, the holiday lights around the City will already be lit and there will be no need for an official ceremony. At this new event, hot dogs and snacks will be served, the SMSD choir will perform, Santa will arrive via fire truck at 6:00pm to visit with the children, and the party will include six or so activity booths like a cookie-decorating station, fishing and ring toss games that award small gadgets to participants.
For the adults, as an introduction to the beginning of Stafford Centre’s 10th Year Anniversary, tickets to the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve bash will be 50% off for Stafford residents if purchased by December 20. Normally tickets are $75, but this event, which provides dinner of either prime rib or chicken, two drink tickets, live music from Passport, and a midnight champagne toast will be $37.50.
Mayor Leonard Scarcella said, “I would hope a lot of Stafford citizens would give consideration” to this event that will provide “much safer circumstances” for those traveling home after the event. All of the Councilmembers thought the special price was an excellent idea. During the discussion of the cost and break-even pricing, Councilman Cecil Willis said, “You don’t lose money when it’s for Stafford citizens.” Mayor Scarcella added, “Even if we lost money, it’s for the 10 year anniversary.”
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