ARCATA - Christmas spirit was in the air in Arcata Friday. Arcata Main Street organizers decked out the plaza and prepped for the Season of Wonder and Light events that took place Friday night.
"Christmas is the season of giving, the season of love, the season of light. It's the time when we all come together to bring out the goodness in our hearts," said Nancy Stephenson, Arcata Main Street Director.
It was lights, ornaments and the smell of cedar Friday afternoon as Arcata Main Street began decorating the Community Wish Tree on the Arcata Plaza.
“To be outside and enjoying the plaza and the people, it means a lot to me,” said Coco Maki, Arcata Main Street member and manager at Pasta Luego.
Getting ornaments to the top of the tree proved challenging but Arcata Fire was called for assistance and they came to the rescue.
As part of the Community Wishing Tree, people have the opportunity to write a wish on a ribbon and tie it to the tree. Organizers say it's a symbol of unity bringing the community together.
“Everybody writes down their wishes for the holidays, the wishes for the world and the wishes for our community,” said Stephenson.
Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without any presents.
“We're trying to remind everybody that we want you to come and enjoy all the beautiful things our stores have," said Stephenson.
Plaza shoppers can win prizes with a holiday passport by racking up stamps from buying gifts at participating stores.
Stephenson says, “This year we've ramped it up a little bit, we have 24 stores that have all donated great prizes.”
Santa Claus will also be in Arcata during the month, spending time in Jacoby’s Storehouse which is filled with Christmas wonder.
“It brings a smile to your face when people come in, they complement it. The kids are so excited every year to see Santa Claus and it's just very special to me to be a part of it,” said Carla Reitz, Owner of Arcata Tuxedo in Jacoby’s Storehouse.
Plus post a selfie in front of the Jacoby’s Storehouse tree to Pasta Luego’s Facebook for a chance to win more prizes.
“I get the joy of seeing people’s faces the first time they see the Jacoby tree and watching them try to take a selfie is awesome,” said Maki.
Friday night Arcata Main Street hosted a lighting ceremony that featured lighting of the trees, songs and sing-alongs with Kathe Lyth’s Redwood Coast Choir, and a Scrooge passage by a Donald Forrest, narrator with the Eureka Symphony.
One hour later Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived by horse drawn carriage. Hundreds of children lined up in the center of the plaza to sit on Santa’s lap and take photos, all for free.