Gilbert Lighthouse pavilion in the town’s community park, where the North East Middle School band was stationed to play assorted Christmas tunes. They played for about 10 minutes before McKnight came onstage to welcome attendees to the tree lighting.
“It’s important to mention, too, we could not do this were it not for those men and women across the world who are sacrificing themselves, their time, their talent, to keep us safe,” McKnight said, before asking for a moment of silence.
He then welcomed the Rev. John Schaeffer, of St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church, to speak on the true meaning of Christmas. Because Schaeffer was in- stalled at St. Mary Anne’s in April, this is his family’s first holiday season in the area.
“We came on a very cold winter night in mid-February, in the dark of night, around 2:30,” Schaeffer said. “And the next day we were warmly welcomed by our parish, and then nicely, warmly welcomed by our town. So we’re very excited to be here.”
Shortly after, McKnight took the mic again and asked the band to play the next guest’s favorite song: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
“Hello North East, Maryland,” Santa said after emerging from behind the pavilion. “How you doing tonight?”
Giuliana Fusco, Kaitlin Fusco and Mike Fusco take a picture in front of the North East Christmas tree.
Margie DeBoard, who owns Booksellers Antiques, noticed a lot of people buying history books on Cecil County and elsewhere.