Monday, when Saline’s Christmas tree was to be trimmed with ornaments, the night was cold with wind-driven rain. Fortunately, the weather was perfect on Tuesday night for the lighting of the tree where perhaps more than a hundred people joined in the celebration.
In fact, the weather was so unseasonably warm, in the low 50s, that some people were removing their jackets. As one mother remarked when her son complained of the heat, “You don’t often hear that at the tree lighting.”
An attractive and abundant array of Christmas cookies were available for guests as well as hot beverages. Many guests joined in the singing of Christmas carols.
This year’s event was about more than the tree. Before the tree was lit, city officials cut a ribbon commemorating the completion of the Michigan Avenue construction and drew a card for the $1000 grand prize in the “Pave it Forward” raffle.
Mayor Brian Marl did the honors of cutting the ribbon for the road. Of course, some construction is still in progress, but the roads are now fully serviceable.
“I am sure, like all of you who are here, absolutely ecstatic that the construction is over,” Marl said to resounding cheers. “And we now have a streetscape and a state highway that will serve us well for decades to come.”
Local restaurant owner Wally MacNeil reached deep into a barrel to pull out the winning ticket for the $1000 raffle. The winning ticket, number 530, belonged to Debbie Miller from Ypsilanti.
There were more than 22,000 tickets to pick from. Shoppers in Saline received a ticket for each $10 they spent at participating businesses in the construction zone.
5-year-old Ann-Louise Bachman won the Chamber of Commerce Ride with Santa Coloring Contest. Her name was drawn from a basket containing the names of all the children who entered.
With the assistance of a boy wearing a martial arts outfit, Marl counted to three before flipping the switch to light the 2016 tree. A cheer went up, then after a minute or two to admire the tree the crowd began to disperse.