Lights, Santa, singing: The holidays are here!
Voices will join in singing old carols, lights in the trees along Main Street will be lit up for the holiday season, and Santa will greet the gathered villagers with his famous, hearty ho-ho-ho.
But the star of Ridgefield’s annual tree lighting celebration will be 9-year-old Brooke Blake, a Barlow Mountain Elementary School fourth grader who was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer — DIPG, or diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma — around Christmastime two years ago.
“She is an incredible survivor,” said First Selectman Rudy Marconi.
Brooke and her sister Riley will throw the ceremonial switch, lighting the lights up and down Main Street, with parents Matt and Maddie Blake proudly looking on.
Brooke has a family connection to the first selectman.
“Her mom’s brother is my son Andrew’s life partner,” Marconi said. “We’ve known them a long time.”
The tree lighting celebration will be Friday, Nov. 24, starting about 6 in front of town hall.
Poet and television personality Ira Joe Fisher will emcee the event, and Mary Jones of Rodier Flowers will say a few words on behalf of the Downtown Ridgefield merchants association, which sponsors the event.
Folks will be singing — and at least some of them will be on key, as the high school’s chorus and a cappella group will take a leading part.
“They’ll both be performing between 6 and 6:30, at which time we’ll do the countdown and welcome Santa to town,” Marconi said.
As has become tradition, Santa will arrive on a fire truck and greet the crowds. Then he’ll ride a golf cart to the Lounsbury House to entertain more personal discussions with anyone who may have some thoughts — or possibly a list — to share with him.
“When he gets out of the fire truck he’ll say hi to everybody — a few ‘ho-ho-hos’ — then into the golf cart, up to the Lounsbury House,” Marconi said.
The tree-lighting event usually draws a good — and high-spirited — crowd.
“We’ll probably have well over a thousand people, of all ages,” Marconi said.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, across Main Street between town hall and Lounsbury House, invites anyone who wishes to continue the celebration to stop by at 6:30 for cocoa, cookies, caroling, and conversation.