Coltontel held its 15th annual tree lighting ceremony in Colton Thursday night

It was so cold in Colton last Thursday that the frost on the ground made it look a lot like a white Christmas. It must have encouraged people to come out for the fifteenth annual Coltontel Tree Lighting ceremony as the green-space beside the telecom's technical offices filled to overflowing with community members ready for a night of fun.

The large tent was inviting and warm as people entered for the night's festivities. Coltontel general manager, Geri Fraijo, welcomed everyone, and members of Boy Scout Troop #257 presented the colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Pastor Tom Axmaker bestowed the invocation and then the entertainment began.

The Colton Elementary School fifth-grade chorus, Colton High School choir, CHS band and jazz band under the direction of Bobby Rice performed holiday musical selections—all to much applause and toe tapping.

Between musical numbers, names were drawn for the prizes that were awarded throughout the night. Any member of the cooperative telecommunications company, who returned their postcard and dropped it into a collection box, was eligible. This year's prizes included eight 40-inch and two 40-inch flat screen TVs. There were also 10 gift bags filled with digital goodies awarded and Colton Coffee Company donated a $25 gift card.

At the close of the entertainment, when according to local Sasquatch Station weather website the temperature had dropped to 25.7, the crowd did not hesitate to step outside the tent for the official tree lighting. With a count from 10 to one the large, live Sequoia was lit with hundreds of lights.

A concession tent offered hot chocolate, coffee and cookies.

"Even though it was a very cold night this year's turn out seemed to be bigger than previous years," Cori Webb said. "We had a wonderful time. It was nice seeing familiar faces as well as a few new."

Children wishing to visit with Santa were directed to his "warm" location in the business office. The Santa area was decorated with a lighted tree, and elves handed out candy canes and gifts to the children who visited with Saint Nick. The line to see the jolly old soul was long and filled with expectation as family by family stepped into Santa's office with their wish list.

"The Christmas tree lighting was amazing as usual," Chelsea Skogan -Boyd said. "I love seeing our entire town getting together under one tent to watch the local kids perform. It's nice to meet new faces and see old faces you haven't seen since the last tree lighting. Coltontel makes it extra fun by adding the prizes. I think my favorite part of this year's festivities was when Tim Behrens won a TV. Hearing the whole town erupt in applause was spectacular! He does so much for this town. It was great to see him win, I think it warmed all of our hearts on that frosty night."

Coltontel Tree Lighting

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