The tree lighting and community Christmas gathering is a long tradition in the City of San Fernando. It was first started by Carolyn Riggs at the Lopez Adobe and over recent years has grown into a much larger event with entertainment that includes performances by the city’s young performers: Los Tesoros (The Treasures) de San Fernando–the award winning youth mariachi group–, the San Fernando Braves Pop Warner football team and Ballet Folklorico Ollin.
This year, Mayor Sylvia Ballin suggested that a live Christmas tree be planted and moved the festivities to Brand Boulevard to encourage more families to participate. “Brand Boulevard is the heart of the town,” said City Manager Brian Saeki. “By shutting down the area for this event and planting a specimen tree that will be with the city for many years, It signifies our committment to the community and starting a new tradition.”
“This event is about the spirit of our community,” said Ballin. “So many city workers, including the San Fernando Police Department and volunteers, pull together and we all get so much satisfaction in seeing how excited the kids are to visit with Santa.” This year, Santa sat on stage and the kids felt like they were his honored guests and this stepped up front and center for their visit with him. “It’s an event for everyone, from seniors to the kids,” said Saeki. “It’s all about community,” echoed Ballin.