North Myrtle Beach's Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony was held at McLean park on Friday, December 3, 2010.
My step-daughter, Alex, is involved with Keep America Beautiful and her group group helped set up decorations for the Christmas Festivities along with several other Horry County residents.
We arrived at about 4:00pm bundled up with hats, gloves and thick sweaters, and got straight to work. About 30 volunteers worked on setting out hundreds and hundreds of luminary candles throughout the park and then making a second go round to light all of them. (I saw a lot of Advil in my future...)
The kids did a great job and worked their little hearts out. Filling bags with a handful of sand, dropping a votive candle in each one, placing them on both sides of every single path in the park, lining them around the lake and then setting them alight.
By the time the sun went down and the ceremony started, the park looked amazing.
The Keep America Beautiful volunteers enjoyed Papa John's Pizza and hot chocolate compliments of the North Myrtle Beach Parks and Recreation Department.
The city put on a nice show with singers and performers of all ages.
Santa arrived via the North Myrtle Beach Fire Department's truck. Sirens blazing. The kids went nuts. Santa set up camp at the gazebo overlooking the pond and the kids lined up and eagerly waited their turn to tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
Alex handed out candy to the kids after they finished up with Santa. After the last child in line whispered their Christmas wish to Santa it wasn't time for us to go home... it was time to help clean up!
Melinda and Alex ran through the park stomping out the luminary candles. I think they had more fun stomping the luminaries out than they did setting them out and lighting them. Although they were strutting around like peacocks when the parents told them they were old enough to use the lighters properly, and sent them out on a mission to light as many candles as they could before the sun set.
Little did they know, our backs were hurting from bending over and setting out so many luminary candle bags... we could have cared less if Alex and Melinda set the entire park on fire as long as we didn't have to bend over and light all those damn candles!
After five hours outside, I was seriously chilled to the bone and ready to head home. It was a fun night and I'm super proud of Alex, Melinda and all of the other kids who participated with Keep America Beautiful.
Next year, I am going to wear electric socks!
And now onto my shameless self-promotion...
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Busch Gardens Virginia is just a quick 45 minute drive from the Virginia Beach oceanfront, and the Virginia Zoo is less than 20 minutes from the oceanfront boardwalk.