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Citrus Heights Tree Lighting set for Dec. 3 at temporary site

Christmas tree decor, Citrus Heights
Christmas tree decor, stock photo. // CHSentinel

The 19th annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Citrus Heights will be held at a temporary site in front of the Community Center on Dec. 3 this year, pending anticipated completion of a new city hall building next summer.

Although a larger, 30-foot tall tree was delivered two weeks ago, Community Center Technician Michele Saario said a smaller tree was brought in last week after several technical difficulties were encountered.

This year’s festivities will begin with a 6:30 p.m. lighting ceremony on Thursday outside the Community Center, followed by free refreshments, cookie decorating, train rides, and pictures with Santa inside the Center. According to the City’s web site, there will also be special performances by the Citrus Heights Community Marching Band, and dance performances by the Ukrainian Heritage Club of Northern California and Folsom-based Aradhana Arts.

In the past, tree lighting ceremonies were held around a once-permanent tree rooted on the old city hall grounds at the corner of Greenback Lane and Fountain Square Drive. A location change was required this year due to the old tree being cut down when city hall was demolished, in preparation for a new medical building to be built at the corner.

[From July: Citrus Heights leaders break ground on new city hall project]

According to Saario, future tree lighting ceremonies will be held at the new city hall being constructed near the corner of Fountain Square Drive and Stock Ranch Road, where a permanent tree will be planted. She said finding a temporary site for this year’s tree lighting was a “challenging” experience, with the location changing several times due to traffic concerns from police and underground wiring outside the Community Center not allowing a hole to be dug for the original, larger tree.

Police Lt. Jason Russo said various proposed tree locations had encountered different problems, with a primary concern coming from trying to avoid blocking off Fountain Square Drive due to the nearby Post Office and Sam’s Club each having night deliveries. He said the final plan is for crowds to gather across the street from the Community Center in the police department parking lot, with police closing the road briefly during the actual lighting of the tree. The road will then re-open after attendees move inside the Center for the remaining activities and performances.

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Russo also said donation bins for unwrapped toys and food will be set up after the ceremony to go towards the police department’s annual Holiday Referral Program, which seeks to help local families who experienced a hardship over the past year.

[Related: Holiday police program benefits in-need Citrus Heights families]

The annual tree lighting drew over 1,000 people last year, and is sponsored by the City of Citrus Heights, along with Sunrise Mall and Marketplace, and Republic Services.

Event info:
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015
Police Department and Citrus Heights Community Center
6315 and 6300 Fountain Square Dr.

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