The annual tree lighting event at Stonegate Bank was a huge success Thursday night, thanks to the families that came out to support the festivities.
The Pine Island Eagle Choir kicked off the event by singing many Christmas carols, which was followed by Pine Island Dance doing a number of routines for the crowd.
After the performances were done, the countdown of lighting the Christmas tree took place, which was followed by the fire truck sirens approaching the bank to drop off Mrs. Claus, Santa and their elves.
Many youngsters sat on Santa and Mrs. Claus’ lap during the tree lighting event at Stonegate Bank Thursday night, as they shared their wish list and had their picture taken.
As Santa stepped down out of the fire truck, the kids began chanting "Santa, Santa" as he walked to the front porch of the bank as a line formed behind him.
Each child had an opportunity to sit on Santa's lap as Phil Rosenburg took a picture of them and his wife, Joan, printed a copy for them to take home.
"Last night was a huge success," said Elsie Stearns, vice president of the Stonegate Bank Pine Island office. "We had more this year that last year for sure. Definitely more kids."
Stearns wanted to thank Wells Fargo for providing the cost of printing the pictures, SunTrust, Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves, Pine Island Choir and Pine Island Dance, with a special thank you to the fire department for bringing Santa and Mrs. Claus.
"It is a true event in the spirit of a small community," she said. "We really had a great time hosting it."
The event has been held on the island for more than 30 years, thanks to Donna Roach, who started the tradition. Stearns said she saw third generation families standing out in the crowd Thursday night.
"Very long-time tradition and always well attended," she said.