Snellville lights up Christmas tree

SNELLVILLE -- The city in South Gwinnett County was the place to be Saturday for recharging the holiday cheer.

That's how Morris and Tracy Brooks felt. They said they've been coming to the annual event for at least six years in a row.

"At this point, it's tradition," Morris said Saturday, while holding his wife's hand as they awaited the lighting of the Christmas tree.

The 60-foot tall Christmas tree beside City Hall came to life as the city celebrated its 31st annual Christmas Tree Lighting event.

The day started off with a visit from Santa Claus in the early afternoon. Children of all ages ventured out to sit on St. Nick's lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.

Eight-year-old Kyle Moon told Santa he wanted a Lego Batman 2 video game for Playstation 3. "He's been good this year," said mom, Christine. "So maybe Santa will give him what he wanted."

The Sweeny Family of Snellville hopped up onto a tractor-driven wagon for a "caroling hay ride."

"You're not exactly in the country here, but they make you feel like you are," Jeanette Sweeny said. She and husband, Kenneth, brought their three children along for the ride.

For the Sweeny family it's a tradition, too.

"Oh yeah, we come here every year," Kenneth said. "It's good, clean fun. We can bring the little ones and not have to worry about them getting in too much trouble. It's just one of those fun events to get you excited about Christmas."

And Kenneth said the food wasn't bad, either.

"We had hamburgers and funnel cakes for dinner," he said, laughing. "Real healthy."

Entertainment on Saturday included a Christmas carol performance by "The World's Our State," sponsored by Southern Gwinnett Community Arts as well as an ensemble by the First Baptist Church Girls singing "King of Glory."

Rene Walker sang "Joy to the World" and "There's Something Going on in Bethlehem," followed by the lighting of the tree.