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The Christmas season in Oakhurst officially started Dec. 6 when an estimated crowd of 800 attended the 25th Annual Oakhurst Tree Lighting ceremony on the north-east corner of Highway 41 and Crane Valley Road (426). The 60-foot tree is cut every year by the Sierra Tel construction crew and decorated by members of the the company’s building maintenance department.

To the delight of hundreds of children, Santa was delivered to the festivities in the parking lot of Ditton Realty Centry 21 in a Cal Fire Oakhurst Station 12 fire truck with bright lights flashing.

In addition to the tree lighting, children enjoyed a petting zoo, miniature horse rides, hot chocolate and cider provided by Gold Country Water and served by Mountain Lions Club, and cookies from the Oakhurst Area Chamber of Commerce. Starbucks provided hot coffee. More than 650 barbecue hot dogs were provided by Century 21, and Sierra Tel donated 1,000 books for children.

Pine cone decorating was sponsored by McGoldrick & McGoldrick and Dr. Rodney Peter, DDS.

Area elementary schools that decorated smaller trees with handmade ornaments included Chawanakee Academy, Oakhurst, Rivergold, North Fork, Wasuma,Wawon, Coarsegold,Spring Valley, Raymond-Knowls, Mountain Charter Home School, Oak Creek Intermediate, and Oakhurst Adventist Christian School. Those trees are purchased by the Sierra and Noon Rotary clubs.

Mimi Rumohr, Elisa Heidebrecht, and Allison Seiling Helped decorate the Mountain Home Charter School tree with stars, snowflakes, and snowmen. The girls said they were excited about Christmas because it was Jesus’ birthday.

- Staff report

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