Yuletide cheer was in the air at Rochester's festive tree lighting

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Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley and her granddaughter moments after they flipped the switch on Rochester's Christmas tree in downtown Rochester. (Rochester Voice photos)

ROCHESTER - The moon was nearly full, the temperatures fairly mild and Rochester's downtown was as bright as a winter wonderland Friday night as the city's Christmas tree was lighted for the first time.

Several hundred began gathering well before the event started around 5:30 p.m. with families milling around enjoying the mild evening air and munching on cookies and sipping hot chocolate provided by Citizens Bank.

Sara Tibbetts, who was at the tree lighting with her two young children, 4-year-old Ella and 6-year-old Sophia, said it was a wonderful night for welcoming the Christmas season.

Ella Fox, 4, and her sister, Sophia, 6,wait patiently for their turn at the cookies and hot chocolate station on Friday night during Rochester's Christmas tree lighting.

"This is a great family activity," she said. "This is our first year in Rochester, and this definitely gets us into spirit of Christmas."

The event was much more than a tree lighting, however, There was also the spirited and often Rockettes-inspired dance lines of Studio 109 dance students, a visit from Santa at nearby Federal Savings Bank, a nativity scene photo booth, and a reading of "The Night Before Christmas" by Rochester Mayor Caroline McCarley, who, with her granddaughter did the honors of lighting the tree, a 25-foot blue spruce donated by Chris and Danielle Bowlen of Western Avenue in Rochester.

"This is a wonderful event," said McCarley. "Last year it was all so new to me, but this year I'm just enjoying it with my granddaughter."

Dancers from Studio 109 were stepping out in style providing a great show for a festive crowd at Friday night's tree lighting in downtown Rochester.

Missy Tremblay of Rochester was also there with her two young children, Drew, 9, and Damian, 7. She said her kids were "very excited" to see the tree lighting. Damian, by the way, said if he saw Santa over at Federal Savings Bank, he was going to ask him for a Nintendo 2DS.

Immediately after the tree lighting some 25 dancers from Studio 109 took to a makeshift stage to wow the crowd with their many precise dance moves and choreography after which McCarley read the quintessential short story Christmas classic, which of course ends with, "Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

It certainly was that.

The tree lighting was presented by the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Frisbie Memorial Hospital.

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