ROCKINGHAM ― Mayor Steve Morris was only halfway through the countdown before the city’s Christmas tree lit up in Cole Plaza on Tuesday.
A small crowd braved the 42-degree temperatures for the annual ceremony, waiting in the dark for the flip of the switch.
Prior to the lighting, the L.J. Bell Elementary School Chorus sang a “hip-hop version” of “Up on the Rooftop” and “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Lighting the tree this year were Roger Staley of the Richmond Community Foundation and Neal Cadieu of the Cole Foundation.
Morris said the two organizations have invested more than $8 million each into downtown Rockingham over the past decade, enabling nine individuals to buy property and start businesses, adding to the city’s tax base. Morris called that a “good investment.”
Both foundations have also helped fund Discovery Place Kids and the future downtown campus of Richmond Community College.
As the students continued to sing, ending with “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” parents took photos of their children in front of the tree and took advantage of the free hot chocolate and cookies available.
Christmas on the Square will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.