By Elizabeth Scinta
Special to The Sentinel
ROCKVILLE – Rockville residents kicked off the holiday season with the lighting of the Rockville Town Square Christmas Tree on Nov. 22.
The event consisted of music from King Teddy, pictures with Santa Claus, the lighting of the tree and a dance performance by Dawn Crafton Dance Connection. While it was a windy night, many residents of Rockville still came out to enjoy the event.
“It’s a cold night, and that’s not keeping the people away,” said Rockville resident Bill Ridgely.
King Teddy, a local band from Washington, D.C., got things started with renditions of classic Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells.” Ridgely and Wendy Aaronson from showing off their dance moves on the makeshift dance floor in the middle of the town square. After liking the music and environment last year, they both decided to come back again for this year’s tree lighting.
“I love the vibe. Lots of friendly faces and kids running around. Always a great scene at these kinds of things,” Aaronson said.
A man dressed as a nutcracker on stilts, and Unicycle Lady, Lisa Polinori, added on to the entertainment for the crowd by posing for pictures. The Rockville outdoor ice-skating rink in the town square was also open for the public to use during the event.
Some attendees came dressed in holiday spirit sporting Santa hats, holiday sweaters and one man, Michael Moriarty, wore a tall green Christmas tree hat. Donna Stivers, the woman he came with, came back for her second year.
“I like the holiday spirit,” Stivers said. “It’s a very family-oriented event. Lots of kids around makes it fun.”
There were merchant tents set up for attendees of the event to visit. Some of the stores included Dawson’s Market, Hammer & Stain Rockville and Gumbo Ya Ya. The stores offered samples of their products for people to try, and a few even had some of their merchandise out for sale.
As part of the festivities, Rockville has partnered with Children’s National Hospital’s Light Up Dr. Bear campaign by placing one of their 4-foot light-up bears as part of the display at the Rockville Town Square.
According to Children’s National, every time someone makes a donation to Children’s National Hospital, the bear will light up, along with more than 300 other Dr. Bears stationed in the hospital and around the Maryland area.
Donations can be made online to the Children’s National website. The donations go towards the care provided at the hospital, funding more programs for the kids and funding research for patients, according to the Children’s National website. The bears will be in the town square until Dec. 31, in hopes of inspiring residents to make a donation to Children’s National Hospital.
With a countdown from the crowd, Nolan, a patient from Children’s National Hospital, along with Santa Claus, pulled the switch to light the town tree. Nolan was there to remind everyone that the donations given will help the patients at the hospital.
Following the lighting of the tree, Dawn Crafton Dance Connection performed 14 dances to a variety of Christmas songs. After the spirited dances, King Teddy came back on stage to play more holiday songs for the crowd to dance until the conclusion of the event.