The Annual Westlake Tree Lighting event was held on December 1, 2016 from 5:30-9:00 pm at the Westlake Shopping center, in front of the library. Hundreds of local residents lined the sidewalks and visited local shops as they awaited the momentous tree lighting. Many of the shops that remained open for the occasion, provided refuge from the crisp chill air; as well as the opportunity for parents to do some much needed Christmas shopping. Children of all ages engaged in the free arts and craft activities, as parents took the time to speak with friends and neighbors whom they haven’t seen in a while. The festive atmosphere continued as Santa made an appearance and gave the parents and children an option to take photos with him. Pictures with Santa included a complementary copy of the picture! At another corner, a man in a Santa hat appealed to the crowds to donate new, unwrapped toys for We Care of Franklin County organization, with a purpose of redistributing them to children in need. An additional incentive for donating toys included receiving a free movie (in addition to helping create a magical holiday for an otherwise underprivileged child of course). Crowds gathered at another booth where children received free balloons and parents listened to live music. The crowning event at the end of the night was heralded in through an enthusiastic countdown by the crowd. The tree was lit. Many took the opportunity to gaze at the tree in awe and wonder, as others took the opportunity to take a picture in front of the tree – forever documenting this event with a photo. As the excitement drew to a close, people, families, parents and children slowly walked back to their car, blissfully aware of and thankful, for the opportunity to participate in yet another magical holiday moment.