SOUTHINGTON — The smell of apple cider filled the air around the bonfire at Plantsville’s Faith Living Church as revelers warmed themselves, enjoying chestnuts while Girl Scouts sang Christmas carols.
“I really think people are hungry for hope … and Christmas is all about hope,” said Susan Thomas, wife of the church’s pastor.
Cecilia DiGovanni, 5, of Southington, flipped on the lights at the Plantsville Green as part of the White Christmas in the Community, held simultaneously in downtown Plantsville and Southington.
With the green glowing, scouts gathered to sing some more.
“They’re just all singing together as one,” said Mechelle Stewart, of Southington, whose daughter was among the carolers. “It’s something they look forward to all year.”
“We’re fortunate to live in a town that has this,” said Paul Bedard, of Southington, as he watched his daughter, Olivia Bedard, 7, also a scout, carol outside Zingarella’s.
Inside Zingarella’s, children could write letters to Santa.
Santa visited the firehouse in Plantsville and the American Legion in downtown Southington during the celebration, giving out presents and taking photos with children and families. The surrounding businesses gave out treats and refreshments.
To continue the celebration in downtown Southington, revelers could take a hay ride down the linear trail, lined with lights and ornaments.
The town once had two separate holiday events, but last year they were combined.
Participants could even see the lights switched on twice, once in Plantsville at 5:30 and again on the Town Green at 6:30, with the help of the hay ride and a trolley going along Main Street.
Shops downtown offered ornament crafting, face painting, raffles and more. The event’s ambassadors, the Bradley Mountain Farm goats, wandered the Green and surrounding stores.
“We always love to see Santa every year,” said George Cappola, of Southington, as his son, Vincent Cappola, spoke with Mrs. Claus at Paul Gregory’s Café. “It gets you into the Christmas spirit.”