RAY CHAVEZ/STAFf photos

A sizable, cheery crowd braved the rainy and windy weather Saturday and turned out to attend the fourth annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Holiday Stroll on Piedmont Avenue enjoyed by merchants, residents, families and children. The festivities kicked off with the tree lighting at 5 p.m. at the Key Route Plaza by the clock tower. Top photo, the lit tree is shown as the crowd of attendees mills about Piedmont Avenue. Above left, accordionist Salane Schultz led the crowd in singing holiday carols -- including "Here Comes Santa Claus" -- as a buildup to Santa's arrival. Right, Santa makes an appearance and greets the children -- who formed a line to have their photos taken with him. with their holiday wishes. "The event was a great opportunity to bring all of the community together and thank all of the residents and businesses for making Piedmont Avenue a truly special place," said Noella Teele, co-owner of Issues magazine store on Glen Avenue and a member of the Piedmont Avenue Merchants Association.

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