City spreads holiday cheer with drive-thru lights, live Nativity scene

The city’s annual tree-lighting event has grown over the years to become a drive-thru light display and Santa visit with additions such as lighted trees floating on Elmwood Pond. This year saw another new addition. A live Nativity scene with real animals including a camel and sheep was set up in Elmwood Park for families to visit.

This accompanied other activities and displays like a live ice sculptor and a Christmas market featuring wreaths, green centerpieces, spruce trees and ornaments. The Independence High School choir dropped by the Kiwanis Pavilion to sing some holiday tunes. Mrs. Claus was also in attendance, handing out candy canes to visitors who also enjoyed doughnuts and apple cider in the pavilion.

Guests took photos with a variety of decorations including an inflatable Frosty the Snowman and a life-size picture frame built by technical services department employee, Paul Kershner. The night ended with a fireworks show.

The light display on City Hall is synchronized to music and the show runs weekends, Friday through Sunday, from 4:30 p.m. until midnight through Jan. 6. Tune into 93.7 FM to hear the music play inside your car. ∞

Independence residents Lauren, Dan and daughter
Selah Molls play in the inflatable igloo. Photos by Kim
Scott Sowinski.

A camel was part of this year’s live Nativity scene, a
new addition to Independence’s holiday festivities.

Santa and a his favorite canine enjoying
the holiday lights in Elmwood Park.

Resident Anna Marie Lazration (l) holding her dog Audra and friend Carol Palumbo (r) holding her dog Butch are framed for a perfect holiday picture. The frame was custom
built by technical services department employee, Paul Kershner.

Independence high school sophomores,
Autumn Lasich and Brook Balser assisted
guests who wanted to roast marshmallows.

Ice sculptor Jim Loiko creates a sleigh. Photos by Kim Scott Sowinski.

On our cover (photos) The Kiwanis Pavilion was decorated for the tree-lighting event with a new Frosty the Snowman inflatable. Kids of all ages told Santa their Christmas wishes as they drove by the Civic Center. Guests could pet real animals at the live Nativity display, new this year. Independence residents Kate and William Rutter, age 4, waited for Santa to arrive at his sleigh. Photos by Kim Scott Sowinski.