Pelham lighting Xmas tree Nov. 28

Pelham High School choir members perform during last year's tree-lighting ceremony at the Pelham Civic Complex. The city will host the lighting on Nov. 28 this year. (File)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham officials will transform the main rink of the Pelham Civic Complex into a scene from the North Pole Nov. 28 as the city kicks off the Christmas season.

Pelham will hold its annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony at the complex beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the Monday after Thanksgiving Day.

“Everyone looks forward to the tree lighting,” Pelham Mayor Don Murphy said. “Everyone gets a kick out of seeing Santa ride out on the Zamboni.”

The free event, which usually draws a capacity crowd to the main rink, will feature performances by members of the Pelham Skate School, Pelham Youth Hockey League players and members of the Grebel Dance Nutcracker ballet.

Choirs from Valley Elementary, Valley Intermediate, Riverchase Middle and Pelham High schools will also perform Christmas-themed songs, and the PHS jazz band will fill the arena with holiday tunes.

Boy Scout Troop 404 will join the Pelham Fire Department Color Guard to present the colors to kick off the ceremony, and members of the Pelham Beautification Board will hand out free Christmas ornaments to the first 1,000 visitors.

The performances will lead up to the lighting of the city’s enormous 25-foot Christmas tree, which will remain at the Civic Complex throughout the holiday season. Santa will then ride onto the rink on a Zamboni while tossing candy to the crowd.

After the lighting, the Pelham First Baptist bell choir will perform in the Civic Complex banquet hall, and Santa will be available to hear kids’ Christmas wishes.

Murphy said the tree lighting is unique to the city, and helps ensure the celebration will take place rain or shine.

“A lot of places have parades, but it’s kind of dangerous to try and cut off the traffic on Highway 31 because it’s so busy,” Murphy said. “And you always run the risk of weather when you have something outside.

“I think it’s more togetherness for our city when you have it inside like that,” Murphy added. “It should be a great night. The event is open to everyone, and we want everyone to come.”