A pretty good-sized crowd showed up for tonight's Philomath Christmas Tree Lighting. It was a great way to get into the holiday spirit. The addition of Philomath Elementary's Falcon Singers to the lineup of activities brought a little extra to this year's event.

This was the fourth Christmas Tree Lighting that I had covered for the newspaper. In fact, back in 2014, coverage of this annual event became my very first assignment as editor of the Philomath Express. The first edition didn't publish until Jan. 7, 2015, but I transitioned into the job from the Corvallis Gazette-Times sports department to the Philomath Express during the last week of November.

In an effort to try to meet some folks in the community, I volunteered to cover the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony for my first real taste of a small-town Philomath event. Alyssa Lewis was one of my interviews that evening.

“This brings the community together and is something that everyone can enjoy together,” Lewis told me that night. “It’s something I hope will continue on and my kids can enjoy over the years as well.”

The next year, we had very challenging weather as rain drenched those in attendance. Chris Shonnard, who makes sure the lights work, was one of my interviews. In 2016, I wrote about the tree-lighting's 10th year anniversary with Debbie Thorpe taking me through everything that fell into place for the event to materialize.

So, the annual Christmas tree lighting is special to me. It represented my first glimpse at the Philomath community and I've enjoyed it ever since.