Mayor Robert Garcia led the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony outside the Performing Arts Center Tuesday night. Photo: Jason Ruiz
Hundreds of Long Beach residents packed the outside entry to the Terrace Theatre Tuesday night for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony led by Mayor Robert Garcia in partnership with the Long Beach Convention Center and Visitors Bureau.
The lighting of the tallest Christmas tree in Long Beach drew spectators to the performing arts center who also enjoyed holiday musical performances and food trucks prior to the lights being turned on and the fireworks show that followed Garcia’s flip of the switch.
Pastor Gregory Sanders, founder and senior pastor at The ROCK Christian Fellowship, led the crowd in a holiday prayer prior to the lighting, stating that the tree was representative of Long Beach and the diversity of all of its communities.
“I believe this tree represents the thousands of people we have in our city, the citizens we have in our city, and it represents us as lights,” Sanders said. “There are thousands of lights on this tree and it represents every one of us.”
Clad in a red sweater, Garcia was joined on stage by members of the city council, former Mayor Beverly O’Neill—she recently had a theater named after her at the Performing Arts Center—and other elected officials. The mayor led the crowd in a countdown before lighting the tree which was immediately followed by the fireworks show signaling the kickoff of the Christmas season in Long Beach.
“It’s an honor to be your mayor and it’s an honor to be able to celebrate the holidays with you,” Garcia said.