There is snow in the Seal Beach forecast for Saturday.
There will be snowballs thrown and snow angels made. There will be steaming cups of hot cocoa, holiday music and the twinkle of Christmas lights. It’s the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at .
This year’s ceremony by the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce will feature a winter wonderland complete with real snow, a visit from Santa Clause and live holiday music by musician Tini Gray. It will also feature a brief ceremony to acknowledge the heroes of the Salon shooting and the resilience of the community that banded together in its aftermath.
The event is the culmination of a year’s worth of planning. Originally themed “Lights, Camera, Action,” the event was going to feature a tree lighting ceremony with local celebrities and a call to action for residents to shop locally this Christmas season, said Laura Ellsworth, chair of the tree-lighting ceremony committee. But after the Salon Meritage shooting, Ellsworth decided to shift her focus from local celebrities to the everyday heroes that make the community special, she said.
“The tragedy happened and I thought, ‘Why am I looking to Hollywood? We have our own everyday heroes,’” said Ellsworth. “We’re not going to dwell on the negative. We’re just going to acknowledge the heroism in our own town.”
Among those who will be honored will be the shooting’s first responders and city leaders as well as five construction workers – Doug Childers, John Gallegos, Mike Sauerwein, Brendan Peña and Mark Mason -
“Out of the tragedy, there was heroism and the community banded together,” Ellsworth said. “We want to honor that.”
Famed NBC weatherman Fritz Coleman will also be on hand to feature the ceremony in his annual Christmas special.
More than 1,000 people are expected at the ceremony, which will take place at 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Following the ceremony, children will have an opportunity to play in the snow and have their picture taken with Santa Clause beneath the Seal Beach Christmas Tree.