Gonzales residents celebrate first in-person tree-lighting ceremony since 2019

Local News

GONZALES, La. (BRPROUD) — Santa Claus made a stop in Gonzales to attend the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony.

On Tuesday evening, the weather was perfect for an evening for lighting up the city and spreading holiday cheer.

“We loved all the lights and seeing Santa,” said Gonzales resident Hannah Rea.

“It’s so fun for the kids, they like playing, we like seeing the Christmas tree and all the lights. It’s something fun to do with the family every year,” said Gonzales resident Meghin LeBlanc.

In 2020, the pandemic forced the annual event to be held virtually.

“We been housed for the last year and a half with this pandemic so tonight is just a great time for everybody to come out and spend some time with their families, loved ones,” said Mayor of Gonzales Barney Arceneaux.

Now that many people are vaccinated and safety measures are in place, children were able to get up close and personal.

“That brought joy to my heart, that really made me happy,” said Gonzales City Councilman Timothy Riley.

In the past, the tree lighting ceremony would be followed by a meet and greet with Santa at the Civic Center, but Mayor Arceneaux said his office took the recommendation of medical professionals to hold the event outdoors.

“The one thing that our medical folks had talked to us about. They said, ‘Listen, if you’re going to do anything I would do it outside,'” said Arceneaux.

A lot of preparation went into building the 50-foot tree and putting the event on.

“Two weeks ago they started assembling this tree, so they were working on it about two weeks ago,” said Riley.

The turnout brought about some sense of normalcy, putting everyone in the mood to spread holiday cheer.

“Spend time with your family, that’s the most important thing,” said LeBlanc.

“Give back to the community,” said Riley.

“Enjoy this season, enjoy this time with your family,” said Rea.

The tree will be lit nightly throughout the holiday season for anyone who wants to stop by and get a glimpse.

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