Tree-lighting festive despite rain

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the Cordova Center. (Dec. 6, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at the Cordova Center. (Dec. 6, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Rainy weather failed to dampen a Dec. 6 tree-lighting and holiday kick-off event, say organizers.

During the event, residents gathered at the Cordova Center to meet Santa Claus and his spouse, who appeared with an escort from the Cordova Volunteer Fire Department. After the Clauses’ arrival came the illumination of Cordova’s “Big Tree,” a large pine near the Pioneer Igloo on First Street. The Cordova Jr./Sr. High School Choir also performed carols.

Small innovations were made from previous years to help the event run more smoothly, said Jessicca Hoover, programs and events coordinator for the Cordova Chamber of Commerce. To keep children occupied while waiting for the festivities, Cordova Family Resource Center organized an ornament-making workshop inside the Cordova Center. Free hot chocolate and cookies were also distributed.

“The anticipation of the lights being turned on, with everybody waiting for that moment, was fun to experience,” Hoover said. “My favorite part of the job is watching this event unfold that I’ve spent months working on. That was great.”

Changing out failed lights and hanging the lights on the “Big Tree” were the most challenging parts of preparing for the event, Hoover said. Cordova Electric Cooperative arranged the lights using a crane.

The tree was topped by a new star, crafted by Micah Renfeldt out of scrap sheet copper.

Residents gather around Cordova’s “Big Tree.” (Dec. 6, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times
Residents gather around Cordova’s “Big Tree.” (Dec. 6, 2019) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

The tree-lighting was followed by the Bidarki Holiday Bazaar, taking place in the Mt. Eccles Elementary School gymnasium, where local vendors sold unique and handcrafted items. Dec. 6 was also the first night of Moonlight Madness, a chamber event encouraging residents to shop at local businesses. Businesses participating in Moonlight Madness opened from 6–9 p.m. on Dec. 6, and will also open late on the evenings of Friday, Dec. 13 and Friday, Dec. 20.

As the event ran smoothly, further significant adjustments next year won’t be necessary, aside from adding some heavy cream to the hot chocolate, which was slightly watery, Hoover said.

“If that’s the worst part of your night, it’s going pretty good,” Hoover said.