Photos by Jeylin White
Martin Luther King Elementary school performed holiday carols at the City of Riverdale’s Annual Tree Lighting Celebration.
RIVERDALE — The “First Annual” Tree Lighting Holiday Celebration attracted hundreds of Southern Crescent residents and even a few out-of-towners to the City of Riverdale’s Amphitheatre Saturday. People indulged in sweet hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, some good ol’ Southern cooking, and a plethora of clothing and jewelry vendors.
The evening soirée was hosted by K.D. Bowe, radio personality for WPZE Praise 102.5 FM, a Christian station. Bowe got the crowd hyped with his jovial verbal jabs. He also had a few candid moments with Riverdale Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon.
The crowd was fixed on the melodic vocals from the Church Street Elementary chorus, Pointe South Elementary chorus, Martin Luther King Elementary chorus, and the Riverdale Middle School orchestra, who performed holiday carols.
“It’s important for us to incorporate the children in our programs, because it allows us to bridge the gap between the community and public schools,” said Wynn-Dixon. “We’re creating memories for our children.”
Several other youngsters performed, including baton-twirling acts and ribbon dancing. Many local gospel artists were also on the menu of entertainers, including Darlene McCoy, Alvin Darling and Shamora.
The headliner for the event was Grammy-nominated and Stellar Award-winning gospel artist Byron Cage, who got the crowd up and dancing to his hit song, “I Will Bless the Lord.”
However, it wasn’t Cage who left an impression on the youngsters in attendance but Santa, who made a grand entrance on a fire truck. The lights flashed, the horns sounded off, and the holiday bells rang.
“Merry Christmas!” he yelled.
The youngsters tore through the crowd to get a peek at the man dressed in red in white.
Santa took the stage and asked the young boys and girls one simple question, “Have you been naughty or nice?”
The answers varied. Some yelled out “I’ve been very nice, you gonna bring me some toys this time!” While another youngster yelled, “I could have done better!”
Cage took the crowd home with his last song selection, “The Presence of Lord,” which led into the moment that everyone was anticipating, the lighting of the tree. Cage did the countdown with the audience, “One, two, three!” and then the tree lights flashed on.