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Tree Lighting Proves Popular
Riverbank saw its Community Christmas Tree lit with all due ceremony on Thursday.

Santa and Mrs. Claus flicked magic dust over the decorated evergreen growing outside the Community Center to bring its lamps miraculously to light.

Mayor Chris Crifasi issued a welcome to an unexpectedly large crowd gathered outside around the tree.

Wearing red and green holiday hats, bands from Riverbank High and Cardozo Middle School performed on their musical instruments, the Tot Time Tenors sang and the Riverbank High Color Guard danced to a swirling of flags.

Santa arrived, lit the tree and Miss Riverbank Kacie Alpers and Miss Riverbank Junior Courtney Floyd read out the names of residents who had bought tree ornaments in honor of or memory of a well loved friend or relative.

Once the crowd moved gratefully into the center and its warmth, Santa and Mrs. Claus heard children's wishes for Christmas and posed for pictures, actors of the Riverbank Community Theater gave a preview of "It's A Wonderful Life" and music teacher Florene Smith led the young Turnberry Choir in song.

Outside the center, there were "sleigh rides" around the park provided by an antique horse drawn wagon and within the center hot chocolate and other refreshments were on tap.