It’s not hard to imagine Christmas celebrations of days gone by, where holiday revelers gather to wait for the lighting of the town’s living Christmas tree in the shadow of the Julian Pioneer Museum in Julian’s Pioneer Park under a moonlit sky.
The much-anticipated annual tradition kicks off the holiday season on Saturday, Nov. 24, with an afternoon of entertainment and holiday traditions that go back to the days of the horse and carriage, and before.
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Guaranteed to get everyone in the holiday spirit, the celebration typically includes a variety of performers, from the soulful songs of country singers and songwriters, to traditional choral music sung a cappella by the Julian Arts Chorale.
As the sun drops behind the mountain and darkness takes over the sky, the show concludes with a reading from the Bible about the birth of Jesus, just before the emcee counts down to the flip of the switch that ignites the crowd into shouts of joy, as the Christmas tree is brilliantly illuminated.
Eager tykes and their parents line up to listen for the sound of the fire engine that will bring Santa to the scene to listen to their Christmas dreams.
Around town, lights and garlands beautify the historic architecture, a perfect backdrop for horse and buggy rides along Main Street, while a living Nativity where shepherds and kings pay homage to the Christ child silently recalls the first Christmas on a different hillside, on the other side of the world, centuries ago.
By Ann Reilly Cole