Toni Nelson, Patricia O’Keefe, Capo Cares

Monday night’s tree lighting at our new location in Pines Park was a great example of all that is wonderful about Dana Point. City staff, Capo Cares, community volunteers and some unexpected “elves” made the night an occasion to remember—and to repeat as an annual tradition.

Our sincere gratitude to City Parks Director Brian McClure, who searched for and planted the perfect eldarica pine—the same species that was purchased three decades ago and planted at the location of the original community tree lighting in the median on Camino De Estrella. Both trees were lit on Monday night and will burn brightly with traditional old fashioned bulbs throughout the season, but it was decided to move the lighting to Pines Park in order to facilitate more activities and a larger crowd. Many thanks to our carolers from the Capo Beach Church high school music ministry, led by Rod Mayer. And special thanks to Sherry Murphy of Community Development, who coordinated volunteers from the DHHS PATHS Club and city staff, who acted as “elves,” serving hot cocoa and cookies and helping kids with a choice of three crafts. Cookie trays were supplemented by generous donations from both the Women of Palisades United Church and Aegis retirement home.

Capo Cares volunteers worked with Deputy City Manager Mark Denny and staff to coordinate and promote the affair, which included a display of decades-old, handmade ornaments; a recounting of the history of the community tree lighting; and the main event, coordinated by Mayor John Tomlinson—a countdown and lighting by Anna, the lucky four-year-old winner.

All five new City Council members, scores of adults, kids and a whole lot of dogs in Santa suits had a great time renewing an old tradition and enjoying what makes our community so outstanding—community volunteers, church groups, businesses and neighbors working with a professional and supportive city staff to recognize a time-honored tradition with old-fashioned, Capo spirit. We anticipate that as our tree grows, so too will this and other fun events at our beautiful Pines Park.

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