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Freeland's alight with a holiday glow
"Led by Susan Nowack (far left) the Freeland Foursquare Church choir fills the air of downtown Freeland with song Saturday during the town's first-ever Christmas tree lighting.Matt Johnson / staff photoChristmas came to Freeland Saturday afternoon.It had nothing to do with snow or presents, or even Santa Claus. But, in front of a well-decorated Noble fir on Main Street, several dozen people ignored the calendar and convention to join together for an hour of singing, tree decorating and holiday fellowship.Under the leadership of the Freeland Foursquare Church choir and in the shadow of a 25-foot tree decorated with edible ornaments, the Christmas-loving crowd sang every holiday song in the book, from We Wish You a Merry Christmas to We Three Kings. Kept warm with cider, coffee, cookies and cakes provided by the Freeland Chamber of Commerce, the singers stayed until after nightfall to see the tree lit. It was a unique sight in Freeland, which has never before had a central tree around which to hold holiday celebrations.Chamber director Gayle Saran said the sing-along and celebration was a great way to start the holiday season. The tree lighting kicked off another new holiday tradition, the Freeland Festival of Lights. A decorating contest for local businesses, the festival encourages Freeland merchants to adorn their doors and windows with lights, ornaments, trees, window paint, garlands, boughs and wreaths. Winners will be chosen by the public. Ballots for the Freeland Festival of Lights will be available at participating businesses and the Freeland Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center. First prize is one night for two at the luxurious Cliff House Cottage; second, a basket full of gifts from local merchants; and third, a $100 gift certificate from Catherine DeWitt Custom Framing. "