Toronto ushers in holidays

TORONTO LIGHTS UP FOR THE HOLIDAYS — Members of Toronto Girl Scout Troop 3196 distributed the luminaria during Toronto’s Light-Up Night Tuesday. Helping out were, from left, McKenah Stewart, Lila McCalaim, Zoey Sipes and Teagan Reed. -- Amy Neeley

TORONTO — The Gem City ushered in the holiday season Tuesday night with is annual Light-Up Night celebration.

“I am proud to have been part of this event for many, many, many years,” Don Clarke, the vice president of the Toronto Coalition for Revitization, told the crowd.

The celebration kicked off with the official lighting of the tree by J.T. Karaffa Elementary third-grade pupil Miranda Maxwell. She is the daughter of Joann and Pat Maxwell of Toronto.

Karaffa Principal Chris Dopp said that the tree, which is located in the Gazabo, was decorated with ornaments hand-made by Maxwell’s fellow third-graders at the school.

Jefferson County Commissioner Tom Graham sang for the crowd prior to the reading of the names of those who were remembered with the luminaria. As the names were read, members of Toronto Girl Scout Troop 3196 handed the candles out to those who had purchased them.

TEMS Chief Clark Crago, who acted as master of ceremonies, reminded the crowd of the importance of the luminaria.

“This is the largest crowd we have ever had,” he said. “The proceeds of the (luminaria) go to help the Toronto Salvation Army pay heating bills this winter. These are a way to remember the people who can’t be with us.”

Crago said they sold 375 luminaria this year.

Following the passing out of the memorials and the reading of the names, the fourth- and fifth-graders from Toronto City Schools sang carols with the crowd.

The Rev. Tyler Bayless of the First Presbyterian Church gave the invocation and the benediction. The Toronto Beatification Committee provided and hung all the decorations throughout the town