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Local News

Family Fun Focus of Tree Lighting at Goleta Valley Community Center

For the first time in 25 years, organizers opt to illuminate a 20-foot mechanical Mega Tree instead of the cedar tree on Hollister

Families gathered Friday evening at the Goleta Valley Community Center for a Christmas tree lighting unlike any the event had ever seen.

For the first time in 25 years, organizers opted to illuminate a 20-foot mechanical Mega Tree instead of stringing colorful bulbs on the deodar cedar tree fronting Hollister Avenue.

And the reception was just as warm.

"It's beautiful," one child said after the tree was lit at the end of a brief countdown.

Dozens gathered for the family-friendly tree lighting celebration, where activities were mostly hosted inside the cozier Goleta Valley Community Center.

Every child and adult attendee received a free raffle ticket at the door for the chance to win toys and other goodies donated by local businesses and nonprofits, including one boy bicycle and one girl bicycle from Unity Shoppe.

tree lighting
Arts and crafts activities were part of the fun Friday evening during the tree-lighting event at the Goleta Valley Community Center. (Gina Potthoff / Noozhawk photo)

Whole turkeys were also raffled off during the holiday party, which community center general manager Rob Locke called a "full production."

"This is what the holiday is all about," Locke said, asking everyone to look around at their family and the others gathered there.

In addition to arts and crafts activities, several performances highlighted the nearly two-hour event, including a demonstration from a South Coast Karate class.

Organizers also sent a shout-out to the 2014 Goleta Teen of the Year, honoring Dos Pueblos High School senior Isabella Darke — and the other teen runner-ups — with smiles and applause.

Children could make their own Christmas ornaments and wrote Santa Claus letters.

Little did some of them know that old Saint Nick himself would be showing up, with arms full of free toys for all the girls and boys.

Noozhawk staff writer Gina Potthoff can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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