HARRISBURG -- Bright lights, cold air and hot chocolate made for an ideal holiday setting as the city of Harrisburg hosted its annual Christmas tree lighting Tuesday night at the Saline Creek Pioneer Village and Museum.
Watchers bundled in warm winter clothes welcomed the refreshment stands with hot apple cider, hot chocolate and cookies hosted by the Town and Country Home Extension unit and the Saline County Chamber of Commerce before the evening's festivities started.
Saline County Historical Society President Mark Motsinger, whose group oversees the museum grounds, welcomed the crowd gathered for the evening.
Harrisburg District Library Children's Librarian Emily Drone started the event by giving an enthusiastic reading of Clement C. Moore's "A Visit From St. Nicholas."
Then Teresa Pankey, better known as "Mama T," spoke.
"It is important we remember the reason for Christmas," she said.
Then Mama T sang "Silent Night," accompanied on violin by Harrisburg High School sophomore Sophie Winkleman.
Mayor John McPeek then thanked the crowd for attending before turning on the lights adorning this year's Christmas tree.
McPeek said the weather, which had seen highs in the 60s through Monday, turned cold at the perfect time.
"It was a change from what we had the past few days, but I think the weather tonight was perfect," he said.