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Holiday festivities kick off

Photo submitted by Cristie Thomas The Marietta Christmas tree is assembled and ready for lighting on Saturday.

Intent on expanding the holiday shopping season, the city’s tree lighting ceremony is a week early this year.

“We want to welcome the holidays just a little sooner, so this weekend we’ll have the lighting and then the parade will land the following weekend on Nov. 30 and end instead at the decorated gazebo in East Muskingum Park,” explained Marietta Main Street Director Cristie Thomas.

Marietta Children’s Choir Director Danielle Taylor said Tuesday was the final rehearsal for her students before their holiday season’s debut.

“We’ll, of course, have some classics like ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,’ but also a beautiful Christmas canon that’s a traditional folk song and a variation of ‘Silent Night,'” said Taylor. “But we have such fantastic kids with fantastic voices that are highlighted in ‘Carol of the Star’ and with ‘Come and See the Baby’ which really show off the talent these kids have in the different parts, groups and solos.”

Taylor said her students will perform a 20 to 30-minute set at the tree lighting and get those first-performance nerves out of the way before two more holiday appearances in December.

Marietta Public Facilities Foreman Tanner Huffman said last week’s installation of the tree also went much smoother this year.

“Last year was the first time putting together a tree instead of trucking in a live one, but it went way easier this year with more volunteers and having kept some of the pieces together when we took it down,” said Huffman. “We liked working with all of the volunteers that came out to help get it up.”

Thomas said Hometown Holidays Committee Chairwoman Debbi Cline will flip the switch to turn on the lights Saturday evening and both the Marietta Welfare League and Settler’s Bank are providing sweets and hot cocoa for families to enjoy during the ceremony.

“We encourage families to come out, sing a carol and have some hot cocoa with us,” she said.

The ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday on the Armory lawn, 241 Front St.

If you go:

¯ What: Marietta City Tree Lighting Ceremony.

¯ When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

¯ Where: Armory lawn, 241 Front St.

Source: Marietta Main Street.