* View a photo gallery from the festival.
CUMMING — Christmas spirit was in the air Friday night at Northside Hospital-Forsyth as the annual Celebration of Lights filled its parking lot.
“It was fabulous,” said Patricia Daniel, coordinator. “You see the people streaming in, they’re still streaming in. The arrival of Santa Claus was fantastic. He came in a Model T type of car. He’s so busy getting all the wishes from the children.”
Though rain was forecast, there were just a few sprinkles, and the celebration was able to have inflatables, stilt walkers and a petting zoo outside.
“I just wish it wasn’t drizzling, but a least it’s not downpouring, so I’m grateful for that,” Daniel said. “I’m banking we have way over 3,000 [people in attendance].”
Food and drinks were plentiful at the event, which also featured entertainment, crafts and, of course, Santa Claus.
It culminated with fireworks and the lighting of a 65-foot tall tree, trimmed in some 15,000 lights, atop the hospital. The lights honor friends or family members of Forsyth County area residents who have been affected be cancer.
“I like that everything was free, and you got hot dogs, cookies and they had these people coming around,” said 10-year-old William West. “I liked the dancing.”
William’s mother, Kathy, said they are new to the county, and enjoyed the event and the Southern hospitality.
[I liked] the hospitality of the cookies and the spirit and Christmas and all that,” she said. “We just moved here from New Jersey. They don’t do this [there].”
The event included performances from local dance groups and choruses. One singer said that it looked as if everyone was having fun.
“I was in the [Mashburn Elementary School] chorus,” said Esther Smith, 9. “It is really fun to sing up there. Everything looked like it was going to be really fun. Everybody looked like … they just didn’t want to leave.”
The event was fun for parents as well, according to Smith’s father, who liked the community aspect.
“It’s great, I love seeing all the kids … come out do some dancing and singing,” Christopher Smith “We’re having a good time. It’s a good family event.”
Daniel described the evening as “fantastically fabulous.”
“[The most popular were] Santa and the sand art,” she said.