Carlsbad holds 31st annual Christmas tree lighting


Marianna Marsden

The Carlsbad holiday tree was lit by Mayor Matt Hall on Sunday. Santa sat in front of the tree for free photos for the public.

Audrey Sun, Staff Writer

The City of Carlsbad welcomed the Christmas spirit with its 31st annual Christmas Tree Lighting. This event took place Dec. 3 in the Village Faire where the Carlsbad community came together to celebrate the upcoming holidays.

This annual tradition began with Santa riding in on a fire engine, followed by a Holiday program that featured local performers such as Excalibur, the Lancer Dancers and the Moonlight Youth Theater’s Holiday Show Choir. Free cookies, coffee and cider were served as well as free photos for children 8 and under with Santa.

The Carlsbad Rotary Club along with many local businesses sponsored this city-wide event. This year’s event planner was Thomas K. Arnold. The Rotary Club of Carlsbad has been sponsoring and producing the annual village tree-lighting service for more than 30 years, as a gift to the families and children of the community. 

“Not everyone can afford to spend $15 or $20 for a photo with a mall Santa, so Rotary decided years ago to have an event, free of charge, where kids can meet and have their photo taken with Santa free of charge, and at the same time enjoy a civic holiday party with free cider and cookies, crafts, story telling and of course the lighting of a huge community Christmas tree,” Rotary Club member Thomas Arnold said. “Over the years we also have added entertainment. The second part of this event kicked off when Mayor Hall officially lit the 19 foot tall Christmas Tree, something that will be on display for the next 3 weeks.

Mayor Hall was a council member for 16 years before becoming mayor and remains as an active participant in the Carlsbad community, making this annual Christmas Tree lighting an especially important tradition for him.

“My favorite part of this event is the Lancer Dancers, watching everybody dance,” Mayor Matt Hall said. “I’ve just watched everyone perform for many years and they just keep getting better and better and now they’re helping teach the next generation. It’s not about one specific group but its for those who get this day to perform for the community.”

This year’s event proved to be a much larger crowd. Rotary Club was able to get a tree sponsored specifically for this event.

“The trees are about $1500 to $2000 or more, and we had Rick Caruso step forward and sponsor the tree,” said Hall. “Caruso is the company working to do the flower fields and it was his company that sponsored the tree.”

While there are many people who come every year to this event, there were also a handful of new people that came this year.

“I was surprised at how many people from school came but I’m glad I decided to check out this community event,” senior Aspen Kelley said. “My favorite part was seeing all the little kids line up to take pictures with Santa.”

This event was created so that the families in the community can come together to celebrate the holidays.

“It’s a good old-fashioned community holiday celebration, a free gift to the community,” Arnold said. “I’ve spoken to people who came here as a kid and now they are bringing their own kids. Carlsbad has changed so much over the years that it’s nice to still have some traditions that are the same, year after year.”