Thousands show up for Pelham tree lighting

PELHAM – Dozens of wide-eyed children anxiously stood in line waiting their turn to meet Santa Claus while nibbling on cookies baked by students in Pelham High School’s culinary program at the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on Monday, Nov. 27.

As area residents entered the complex, they were greeted with music from the Pelham High School Jazz Band and by members of the Beautification Board who passed out more than 1,000 Pelham Christmas ornaments.

This year, the event, which was emceed by City Councilman Maurice Mercer, returned to its traditional format with attendees gathering in the main arena for a program featuring the city’s youth. Last year the program was a bit different due to construction that was under way in the main arena.

“People like it better this way,” board member Tamane Moore said. “Having a more formal program allows parents, friends and grandparents to see the kids perform. It allows more groups to be a part of the event also.”

Guests quickly filled the seats inside of the newly renovated main arena. They were treated to Christmas music from students representing each Pelham school and a brief message from Crosscreek Baptist Church senior Pastor Brandon Hudson, who also did the invocation.

This Christmas season, Hudson asked the audience to not only give reverence to the birth of Jesus Christ, but also to his mother, Mary.

“Remember the one who said yes to bearing the life of Jesus,” Hudson said. “We have the opportunity to say yes to what God wants us to do in our lives. Everybody has opportunities to bring light to the world.”

Members of the youth hockey team, the Pelham Mite Under 8 Division, showcased their skills during a scrimmage game and students from the Pelham Skate School and the Birmingham Figure Skating Club dazzled the audience with performances on ice.

The arena’s new Jumbo Tron broadcasted performances throughout the program. The arena’s new lighting and sound systems were also utilized during the event.

After the program, attendees young and old enjoyed free ice skating on both of the ice rinks in the facility. Members of the Birmingham Bulls and Alabama’s hockey program was there to skate with guests and to snap a few selfies.

First-time attendee and new Pelham resident JoElla Holmes described the event as a nice family outing. Holmes attended the event to support her granddaughter who performed with the middle school choir.

“I’ve never lived in a city that did something like this,” she said. “I lived in Hoover previously and they do a tree lighting but its nothing like this.”

See more photos from this event at Shelbycountyphotos.com.