NCt 12112018 Carols02

Carolers gather in front of the Christmas tree in Lovingston on Dec. 7.

More than 50 Nelson County residents of all ages gathered in the cold at the intersection of Front and Main streets in Lovingston last Friday night to watch Santa Claus light the town’s Christmas tree.

As parents and children warmed their hands with hot chocolate, they caught the first glimpse of Santa. Breaking with tradition, Santa arrived not in a sleigh, but in a Lovingston Fire Department fire truck riding up Main Street. Everyone began to cheer as Santa hopped off the truck and made his way through the crowd, high-fiving and hugging residents.

“I have a little poem to read first,” Santa announced to the smiling crowd.

After the winter-themed poem, Santa led everyone in a countdown from “10” and as the crowd shouted “one” the town’s tree blazed to life with bright lights complete with a big glowing star on top.

Caroline Lilienthal, a resident of Lovingston, said this was her second time celebrating Christmas in the area.

“I really love it. What’s really palpable is the sense of community. It’s loving, connected, and magical,” Lilienthal said.

After the tree was lit, the group walked together and sang carols to residents who weren’t able to get out in the cold. Jesse Rutherford, East District representative on the Nelson County Board of Supervisors, played his guitar while Santa led everyone in classic holiday songs.

Front Street was lined with bright, white snowflakes and the cold didn’t seem to bother anyone as they walked around with Santa spreading holiday cheer.

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Erin Conway covers Nelson County. Reach her at (434) 385-5524 or

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