Gathering outside Santa Maria City Hall following the City Council meeting on Tuesday evening, city officials hosted a virtual Christmas tree lighting to ring in the holiday season.

After counting down from five, Mayor Alice Patino, surrounded by fellow councilmembers and Recreation and Parks staff, flipped a large candy-cane shaped switch and the tree began sparkling to an outbreak of cheers. 

"I want to say Merry Christmas to everyone in Santa Maria. We have a wonderful community, a giving community, let's express it even more and more during this time," Patino said. 

Due to COVID-19 safety restrictions, the event was livestreamed on the Recreation and Parks Department's Facebook page in lieu of the usual in-person community gathering held in years past.

Community members were asked to view the brief ceremony via the virtual livestream rather than watching in person on Cook Street.

In addition to city staff, Santa Claus also showed up donned in a face mask, along with future City Councilmember Carlos Escobedo. 

Those who commented "Happy Holidays" on the Facebook video were entered into a contest to win a Christmas tree as well, with winners to be posted on Facebook Wednesday at noon. 

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