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Welcome, Christmas

Santa presides over town's tree lighting

After arriving on a fire engine with a police escort, Santa speaks before throwing the switch that lit the big Christmas tree at Elm and Main Friday night. Gus Steeves. (click for larger version)
November 29, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — When Santa landed on Main Street Friday evening, he wasn't in a reindeer-drawn sleigh, but a fire engine. There was no snow; instead, someone held a large umbrella over him as he dismounted.

But he claimed to have "come through some snow" out West, noting, "Rudolph's nose was going and going."

A few minutes later, he threw the switch to light up the town's donated Christmas tree, then went up the street for photos with a bunch of local children.

What many in town hope, however, is that events like this help light up Southbridge's downtown businesses and community spirit, not just for the season, but in general.

"We hope that, with several of us doing stuff, it'll catch on," said local artist Charles Gaulin, who spent the event in the former Domino's storefront painting alongside Anna Ozolins.

Ozolins agreed, noting the issue is "what do you do for the good of Southbridge?" not the personality clashes and political differences that seem to divide key people in town.

"The more people who are out here, the more hope there is for change," she said. "… Someone has to start it, and it has to be a habit."

For more on this story, please see Monday's Southbridge Evening News.

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