PIEDMONT -- It was only Dec. 4, but it was beginning to feel a lot like Christmas in Piedmont.

Nighttime temperatures were in the low 40s, costumed troubadours were singing Christmas carols and children were waiting in line to get their pictures taken with Santa Claus.

But then that's par for the course at the annual Piedmont Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony held at the Piedmont Community Center.

The event is co-sponsored by the city of Piedmont and the Piedmont Beautification Foundation. The foundation sponsors the cost of the lights along with their installation and removal each year.

In the days leading up to the event, volunteers from the Piedmont Garden Club organized the tree lights which were then strung on the city's 80-foot tall redwood tree by workers from the city's Public Works Department.

Twinkle the Elf, aka Alex Slatoff, left, prepares a young boy to see Santa Claus at the annual Piedmont Holiday Tree Lighting.
Twinkle the Elf, aka Alex Slatoff, left, prepares a young boy to see Santa Claus at the annual Piedmont Holiday Tree Lighting.

Local Boy Scouts provided refreshments to a large crowd gathered in the community center courtyard to watch the lighting. The evening's performers were the Piedmont Troubadours, a student a cappella group dressed in Renaissance costumes.

The troubadours are mostly Piedmont High School students through the group is not formally affiliated with the school.

This time of the year, they can be found performing quartets at Scott's Seafood Grill and Bar, the tree lighting or the Montclair Holiday Stroll, said program director Claire Pinkham. The troubadours now number around 21 members and look forward to performing at the event, Pinkham said.

"We really like performing at the tree lighting," she said. "It's a good way to get our name out to Piedmont residents and show ourselves every year."

Out in the courtyard, longtime Piedmont residents Elise Hatchell and Julie Keating were enjoying the atmosphere with their children. Hatchell and Keating attended the tree lighting when they were children, so the evening was kind of a homecoming of sorts.

"It's a second generation coming so it makes it fun for us," Hatchell said.

After the lights were turned on by Santa, children and their parents waited for a brief audience with the jolly old man in the red suit inside the center.

A large crowd turned out to watch the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony Dec. 4 at the Piedmont Community Center.
A large crowd turned out to watch the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony Dec. 4 at the Piedmont Community Center.
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