Christmas wishes: Lights aglow and snow on Sutter Street

Mayor Eric King is a new father
By: Don Chaddock/The Telegraph
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Friday was a night for holiday cheer on Sutter Street in the Folsom Historic Business District as thousands turned out to watch the town Christmas tree’s official lighting and take part in the rest of the festivities. Mayor Eric King was supposed to be on hand to help throw the switch, but there was a slight change in plans. “The mayor sends his regrets that he couldn’t be here tonight,” said City Councilman Jeff Starsky. “His wife gave birth to their fourth child today.” Starsky was accompanied by his daughter Jessica and City Councilwoman Kerri Howell. CBS13 news anchors Dave Bender and Pallas Hupe got the crowd going with cheers and a countdown. “Pallas told me she had some Friday nights off in December and was wondering what to do,” Bender joked. According to Hupe, she simply wanted to have some fun. “Dave tells me all the time about the great things here in Folsom like the lights (and) the ice rink,” Hupe said. “I told Dave, ‘I want to go.’ This is the highlight of the holiday season for me.” Before throwing the light switch, Bender shouted, “Merry Christmas Folsom. We’re having a great time.” The tree in front of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce is adorned with 5,000 LED lights donated by PG&E. Starsky said the event really brings the town together. “It’s a sense of community,” he said. Howell echoed his statements. “This is so wonderful to see. It gets bigger every year,” she said. “Now, don’t all of you try to go out on the ice at the same time.” Folsom’s McKenzie family was enjoying the live music, particularly 18-month-old Lauren, who was seen dancing to the songs of Stage Nine’s “Holiday in the Hills” cast. The child’s mother said it was a great family event that they were really enjoying. “She loves the music,” Theresa said. “We’re having a good time.” Theresa’s 11-year-old son Nick, a member of Boy Scout Troop 237, helped light the 1,000 luminaries placed around Sutter Street. Her other daughter, Kaitlin, 13, said she was having fun as well. Adam Frick, one of the event organizers, was proud of the town’s Christmas tree. “We have three times (more) lights this year,” he said. Tree lighting event chairman Jim Pelley thanked the sponsors and the residents for attending, but kept his remarks brief. “I know the only thing standing between the tree lighting and you is me,” he joked. Mike Jimena, of Stage Nine Theater as well as a representative of the Historic Business District, said they expected thousands of people to flood the streets. “What I’m hearing is the 4,000-5,000 range, which is really cool,” he said. There were three snow machines blowing snow onto Sutter Street, one shy of what was originally planned. “We had four, but one didn’t work,” he said, but he kept a positive attitude. “You’re standing in the snow. Merry Christmas is what I would say.” Peyton Estes, 3, certainly agreed. The El Dorado Hills child approached the falling white stuff and shouted, “Look! It’s snow.” Jimena said the event is the perfect way to start the season. “This event is really a kick off to the holiday season. Everybody is in a slightly better mood after this,” he said as a horse-drawn wagon rolled by on Sutter Street. On Saturday, Sutter Street will host a Holiday Arts and Crafts Fair from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, go to