TORONTO - Light Up Night in the Gem City included hundreds of citizens gathered around the city gazebo commons for lighting of the city Christmas tree as well as distribution of memorial luminaria, songs and presentation of a check for the city unit of the Salvation Army's home heating assistance program.
The ceremony, sponsored by the city chamber, included a check presentation of $1,803 to the city unit of the Salvation Army's home heating assistance program through the sale of 300 luminaria - the most the chamber has ever raised for the annual tradition. Those attending also were treated to a spectacular fireworks display after the ceremony, courtesy of the city administration.
Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham, master of ceremonies, welcomed the gathering, after which Zoe Clapham, a pupil at Karaffa Elementary School, flipped the switch to light the city Christmas tree. Fred Burns, superintendent of Toronto City Schools, said a few words about the spirit of the season.
HOLIDAY SEASON — The Toronto, Ohio, Chamber of Commerce-sponsored Light-Up Night at the city gazebo commons Tuesday included the distribution of memorial luminaria, the lighting of the city Christmas tree, holiday songs and fireworks. Sale of the luminaria raised $1,803 for the Toronto Unit of the Salvation Army’s home heating assistance program. Those involved included, from left, Doris Starr, treasurer and co-director of the Toronto Salvation Army; Jay Foster of Foster’s Funeral Home; Don Clarke of Clarke Funeral Home; Anna Lea Wirth, Toronto Salvation Army co-director; and Becky Latynski, president of the Toronto Chamber - Mark Miller
"(Toronto is) a small city," said Burns. "It's a wonderful place to be. We're very proud of our young people here."
Graham sang "Oh Holy Night" before introducing Josh Elliott, pastor of the Riverview United Methodist Church. Elliott told the gathering the night was reserved for community and remembrance as well as ushering in the holiday season.
"We come here together to be a community," said Elliott, adding the city was a tight-knit community. "You can see that in a variety of ways."
Elliott said the city displayed its pride through its clean streets, pride in appearance of homes and support for the city's schools, churches and "events like this. We're all a Toronto family as well.
"(The evening) is reserved for remembering those who have gone before us, " continued Elliott, adding those gathered should reflect on the memories and life lessons of loved ones who have died. "Lessons teach us something that you can take into the future. We gather together to look toward the future."
Elliott ended by asking those gathered to "resemble Christ and remember what it means to be a family."
Don Clarke of Clarke Funeral Home and Jay Foster of Foster's Funeral Homes then distributed the luminaria before Beth Rupert-Warren sang "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." The event ended with a fireworks display.