MINGO JUNCTION -Hundreds of village residents gathered on Commercial Avenue Monday evening to usher in the holiday season with the annual lighting of the village Christmas tree.
The event included speakers, Christmas carols, a performance by the Indian Creek High School marching band and good cheer all around.
The annual event began with a welcome by Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin before the Pledge of Allegiance and the singing of the national anthem, led by Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham.
MINGO JUNCTION LIGHTS UP — Emily Bickerstaff, 11, of Mingo Junction was one of several children who decorated the village Christmas tree during ceremonies Monday. The event on Commercial Avenue included carolers, speakers, a performance by the Indian Creek High School marching band and the lighting of the village Christmas tree. - Mark Miller
"We're all thankful you could be here tonight," said Hanlin, after which the Rev. Jim Dunfee, pastor of St. Agnes Catholic Church, led the invocation.
"You gave us the season to celebrate the birth of your son," said Dunfee, adding he hoped those attending would "remember the reason for the season," the poor and "to serve as Jesus did."
Village Mayor Ron DiCarlo then welcomed the gathering and praised village resident and event organizer Sophie Schoolcraft.
"May the Lord continue to bless us with her presence for the next 100 years," said DiCarlo, adding his thanks for all who participated in the tradition. "There's been a lot of work for all this to happen. May the good Lord continue to bless you all."
DiCarlo also thanked Village Council for purchasing the tree.
The lighting of the tree was performed by Dunfee; the Rev. Sam Davis, pastor of the Mingo Harmony Methodist Church; and the Rev. Kenn Sickle, pastor of the Mingo United Presbyterian Church. Children from Hills Elementary School sang a festive Christmas medley, including "O Christmas Tree" and "Holiday," while others decorated the tree with ornaments. The Indian Creek High School band also marched down Commercial Avenue decked out in holiday gear and performing a selection of holiday favorites beginning with an upbeat version of "Jingle Bells" before an appearance by Santa Claus himself.
Village resident Shawna Winland said the celebration was a positive way to begin the season and a boost to the community's morale.
"This is my first year being here," said Winland. "My little sister Addison (Winland) is in the Indian Creek band."
Winland also said she was there "because I feel I should support her, the town and what little we have here."
Sponsors also were thanked during the event, including the Wheeler Funeral Home, Lisa and John DiCarlo, Mingo Pharmacy, Graham and the Mingo Junction Volunteer Fire Department. Schoolcraft also thanked Dave Hindman of World Radio Telecommunications for his support for the Mingo Social Services organization.