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Crowd braves cold for Massena tree lighting festivities

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MASSENA - Some two dozen residents braved the bitter cold Friday night to get into the holiday spirit with Christmas carols and a tree lighting.

Heavily bundled participants stood around the two lit Christmas trees in Veteran’s Park, holding candles and singing Christmas classics, such as “Silent Night,” “Oh Come All Ye Faithful,” and the children’s favorites “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.”

When Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Michael Gleason announced the second song, one attendee remarked, “We’re all frosty out here.”

Due to the single digit temperatures, those in attendance soon moved on to the chamber’s new offices at 16 Church St. to warm up.

“It was pretty cold so we couldn’t keep the kids out there long,” Mr. Gleason said.

Although the cold might have deterred some residents from participating, others were willing to tough it out.

“We just layered up. We decided we would go ahead and do it,” Massena resident Pam M. Ouimet said.

At the chamber’s headquarters participants enjoyed hot chocolate and folk-rock music from local musician Ben Todd, who brought his daughter Jillian on stage to sing lead on several cover songs, such as “Rockin Around the Christmas Tree” and “Rolling on a River” by Creedance Clearwater Revival.

Mr. Todd commended the chamber for providing a new venue for live music in Massena.

“Mike (Gleason)’s done a great job with the transition (to the new offices),” Mr. Todd said. “This is a great site for concerts.” Early in his set, Mr. Todd commended those who’d come out for the tree lighting, saying “you are the brave souls of the evening.”

Mr. Gleason would have preferred warmer temperatures and thus, larger crowds for the evening, but was pleased with the turnout they did get.

“It’s the Christmas and holiday spirit, that’s why we brought (the tree lighting) back after it’s been dormant for a few years,” he said.

The chamber is also sponsoring Santa Comes to Massena from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Massena Community Center at 61 Beach St.


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