Star-ting a new tradition

By: Lauren Gibbs, The Placer Herald
-A +A

Front Street will glow this weekend as Santa makes a visit to Rocklin for the Old Town Rocklin Tree Lighting.
The hope is for this first-time event to become a holiday tradition with locals.
It’s a grassroots affair, but has been gaining massive support from local businesses, service groups and churches. Doug’s Tree Lot, located on Rocklin Road, has donated the Christmas tree, which stands between 14- and 16-feet tall.
The lights that will illuminate the tree are donated; cookies, cider and cocoa will be free to attendees thanks to LIFEhouse Church; professional photos will be taken with Santa at no cost and live entertainment will fill the streets.
The festivities begin at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4 with music, kids crafts and face painting. At 5 p.m. Santa will arrive with the Rocklin Fire Department. And at 6 p.m., Santa will pull the switch to light up the tree. Old St. Mary’s Chapel will be the backdrop for the festivities, which will also include caroling, barbecue cooked up by Buck’s Traeger barbecues, William Jessup choir performances, horse and wagon rides and more.
With the Rocklin Jubilee’s suspension in 2009 and the cancellation of the city’s annual Breakfast with Santa this year, residents like Jill Gayaldo and Gene Johnson found a need for an event like this.
“You can tell there’s this big demand for this,” Gayaldo said.
The news of the tree lighting spread fast through word of mouth and social media outlets to businesses. There was an immediate response with people donating materials or time, sharing ideas and organizing the event.
Monday evenings, the grassroots committee of between 10 and 12 people gathers to discuss the logistics of the tree lighting. Although this is the first year, big plans are in the works for the years following, such as possibly planting a tree to be used for the lighting each year. Until then, the hope is for this event to draw people to downtown Rocklin, which runs from Farron Street to Midas and Pacific streets and Meyers Street to Pacific Street and Rocklin Road.
“We have some real gem pieces downtown,” Gayaldo said.
Businesses along Front Street – Jerry Dizon’s State Farm, Zalgud Company, Buck’s Traeger Barbeques and Crossroads Church – will open their doors for the event.
The tree will sparkle out on the patio to the left of Old St. Mary’s Chapel, where treats will also be available.
Johnson said that since it’s their first attempt at the Old Town Rocklin Tree Lighting, they are hoping for a couple hundred attendees.
“We’re hoping for 500 people and we’ll be ecstatic if we get more than that,” Johnson said.
Guests are also encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy, jacket or coat to contribute to the Rocklin Fire Department’s Holiday Basket Program.
For more information on the tree lighting, go to or call (916) 251-9414.

Old Town Rocklin Tree Lighting
When: Festivities start at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 4
Where: Front Street by Old Saint Mary’s Chapel
4:30 p.m. – musical performances and kids activities
5 p.m. – Santa arrives accompanied by the Rocklin Fire Department
6 p.m. – Santa lights the tree; sing-a-long
Cost: Free
Information:; (916) 251-9414

For more photos: Residents get ready for Rocklin's first tree lighting