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Christmas Tree Lighting postponed until Dec. 8

Event will include parade, music, food and Santa
By: Krissi Khokhobashvili, Placer Herald and Press Tribune editor
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Rocklin will deck its halls Saturday, Dec. 8, for the third annual Christmas Tree Lighting on historic Front Street. The event, originally scheduled for Dec. 1, has been pushed back a week thanks to forecasted rain.

Sponsored by the Rocklin Kiwanis Club and about 100 community members, the  festivities include free refreshments, pictures with Santa Claus, caroling, choir performances, train rides, a petting zoo, activities for children, a tree-decorating contest and, of course, the tree lighting.
 
Much like the tree itself, the celebration is growing, said Gene Johnson, co-chair of the event with Jill Gayaldo.  A community grassroots effort, the Christmas Tree Lighting is made possible by the efforts of a cadre of volunteers.
 
Johnson said that last year, several businesses decorated trees for the event, and afterward organizers weren’t sure what to do with them until somebody had the idea to give them to people in need.
 
“I ran across one about three weeks ago, and she said, ‘We got one of those trees, and we wouldn’t have had one if it hadn’t been for that,’” he shared.
 
Maureen Dudley, director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said the Rocklin church will donate at least six Christmas trees this year, and other churches, including Crossroads Community and Spring Valley, will donate decorations. 
 
“We feel very strongly in our church that we want to follow the example of Jesus Christ and all the service he gave to those around him,” Dudley said.
 
Rocklin Fire Department will collect new and unwrapped toys and coats for children in need, and nonperishable food donations will be collected for the Placer Food Bank. A mini-parade starts at 4 p.m., and the Rocklin Police Department will provide child identification kits, and families can meet some of the dogs from the Placer County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
 
Johnson emphasized the importance of event sponsors, including The Ridge Country Club in Auburn, Destiny Christian Church, Rotary, Soroptimists, Kiwanis and Crossroads Church, along with food from Randy Peters, Granite Rock Grill and Rubino’s Ristorante.
 
“It’s just a fun event, and our main objective is to get as many organizations involved (as possible),” Johnson said.