SEBRING —Adults and children gathered in Circle Park in Downtown Sebring patiently awaiting for the start of the Christmas holiday season. At 6 p.m. the countdown started: “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 – Merry Christmas!”

The Carousel of Lights lit up the park as “snow” (courtesy of snow machines) fell in Sebring. Snow machines created the effect of snow on East Center Avenue. For some kids, it was the first time they saw any type of snow. Some squealed with delight and tried to catch the “snowflakes.”

Kim, Bridget and Maddie Stuber were enjoying the snow. “This is really fun! It’s snowing in Florida.”

“We’re so excited to be adding the lighting ceremony to end the evening of Small Business Saturday,” said Hannah Tucker, Coordinator of the Downtown Sebring Redevelopment Agency. “This will help bring the community together as we celebrate the start of the Christmas season!”

The Park started lighting up around 5:45 p.m. Since there were so many lights on various circuit lines, along with more lights at Frosty’s Winter Wonderland, they were turned on in sections. It was actually really nice to see each section come alive one at a time.

At exactly 6 p.m., Mayor John Shoop welcomed all the people in Circle Park. He started the count down to the tree lighting. Cheers and applause welcomed the start of the Christmas holiday season.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived shortly after the tree lighting in their golf cart, complete with a police escort, right up to their home in Circle Park.

“Look at all the people,” said Santa. “It’s all about the kids, you know; kids of all ages.”

Some of the activities available (for a nominal fee) include mini-golf, photos with Santa, the fishing game and Frosty’s Winter Wonderland. A ticket to Frosty’s included the Elf’s Workshop, Princess Castle and Wagon Ride. Fun foods were available and included popcorn, cotton corn, candy, drinks.

Students from Kaerdi McGovern’s Wash Pin Players (Drama students at Sebring High School) dressed up as characters to help out at the Winter Wonderland. Elizabeth Craig and Lisbeth Martinez were helping at the Princess Castle while Anna Somers and Hunter Ritenour were ‘elves.’

Enjoying the beautiful lights display, visiting with Santa and Mrs. Claus and watching the Singing Puppets show could be enjoyed at no additional cost.