LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – For the last four years this Christmas Tree Lighting tradition has been bringing the Longview community together.

“Its so fun to be able to walk around downtown and see people of all ages enjoying their time being down here, enjoying a lot of the vendors that are set up and the music. It’s a good opportunity to be downtown,” said Shawn Hara, Longview Community Relations.

There were plenty of activities to do before and after the lighting ceremony.

It’s not snowing yet, but there was a foam pit with fake snow for kids to play in and gifts to find at the bottom.

Horse carriage rides were seen all around downtown. The horses were festive with pink glitter on their hooves.

Santa Claus came to town on a vintage Longview Fire Truck from 1929.

“I love it, I love to see people get together especially this time of year, this is a family oriented event,” said Longview resident, Annie Bauer.

The tree lighting was the perfect time for local businesses to join in on the fun and reach a larger portion of the community.

“I think its an amazing opportunity. I am extremely grateful. You know I wouldn’t have been able to get started if I didn’t start here you know,” said Ace Elardo, owner of Ace’s Faces.

Ace started face painting at Longview’s local Downtown Live event five years ago and was asked to face paint at the very first tree lighting and came ever since.

“There’s nothing as joyful as tuning the mirror around and see those kids faces light up like wow! It’s very rewarding,” said Elardo.

It’s a great way to kick off the holiday season with the ones you care for the most.

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