Capitol lights up for the holidays

Hundreds crowded the steps of Nevada's Capitol on Thursday evening, braving freezing temperatures to share holiday warmth and watch the lighting of the state's Christmas tree.

Following choral renditions of several popular Hanukkah and Christmas songs by the Carson City Combined Elementary Schools Choir, Nevada State Sen. Mark Amodei spoke in honor of the occasion.

"It's kind of special to live here in the capital of the Silver State," he said. "It's a great place to live, raise families and grow old."

He emphasized that the holidays are a time to come together and forget the little things that divide the community.

As part of the last tree lighting of the century, organizers invited senior Jim Thorpe, Carson City video historian, and Bordewich-Bray Elementary School fifth-grader Zach Weismann - representing history and future - to flip the switch.

Weismann won a contest to represent Carson City's elementary schools at the event.

To reinforce that theme, said event emcee Maxine Nietz, a new tree planted just two weeks ago and the original tree planted in 1876 were simultaneously lit.

In all, 10,000 lights at the Capitol and up and down Carson Street brightened the night sky.

Kristina Hallam, an Empire Elementary School student, was jumping up and down with excitement. She liked the new tree.

"It's pretty," she yelled, apparently not slowed by the sub-freezing temperatures. "It's good because it's not too big."

The revelry continued at First Presbyterian church, the site of Carson City's Christmas tree.

The two-block procession was led by a Model T decked with lights, and a golden retriever behind the wheel. Santa Claus sat in the passenger seat.

Following a performance by Carson City's Chorus of the Comstock, Mayor Ray Masayko thanked the church for providing the tree and dedicated it to the community.

The tree can be seen at the corner of Musser and Nevada streets through the holiday season.

"It's a good thing that we can all come out and celebrate the season together," Masayko said.


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