Snellville to hold tree lighting Monday

SNELLVILLE - Cyndee Bonacci remembers the cold night around Snellville's Christmas tree, and she glanced at the forecast this year to find another, similar fate.

"I guess it has to be cold so everyone can get in the spirit," she said of the expected lows Monday, when the city will celebrate its 26th tree lighting.

"That'll make it feel like Christmas," added the city's director of parks and recreation. "Hopefully we can keep everyone warm."

To keep away the chill, local restaurants are providing Brunswick stew and hot chocolate, while families wait for the arrival of Santa.

As per tradition, the 7 p.m. ceremony will feature singing from local students from Britt Elementary School and Snellville Middle School.

Bonacci said another city tradition is for a soloist to sing "Silent Night," just prior to the lighting, and this year Lisa Gilbreath will do the honors.

Then the silence will be splintered by the sounds of sirens from the city police, she said.

"They'll have the blue lights on, leading Santa in," she said.

When the Jolly Old Elf arrives, guests can come inside for more refreshments, hosted by the Snellville Keenager Club.

While children give Santa their wish lists, others can do their own giving. The tree lighting celebration, themed "Deck the City Halls," is also a planned toy drive. Marines will be onhand to collect toys or monetary donations for the annual Toys for Tots drive.

The event will take place rain or shine, so Bonacci recommends guests dress warmly for the heart-warming ceremony.

For more information, contact the Snellville Parks and Recreation Department at 770-985-3535.