Galtonians lined the streets of downtown on Dec. 4 to take part in the Lighting of the Night festival, taking pictures with Santa Claus, listening to a musical performance and watching the Lighting of the Night Parade.

The evening began with families lining up outside the Littleton Community Center to get a free photo with Santa. After meeting Santa, children could decorate sugar cookies.

Cal-Waste Recovery Systems sponsored the photos and provided a vintage fire engine for Santa and families to sit in. The Christmas trees that completed the scene were donated by Boy Scout Troop 1119, and decorated by the Galt District Chamber of Commerce.

It wasn’t long before preparations for the next event began up Civic Drive. Dozens of students from the Galt Joint Union Elementary School District assembled to sing Christmas songs. An audience formed 45 minutes before the music started.

First, McCaffrey Middle School music teacher Arianne Aguilera sang holiday standards, accompanied by music teachers Mary Pizzicara, Omar Anzaldua, Curtiss Wright and Nathan Ferrero on keyboard, saxophone, trumpet and trombone.

And then the students joined in with songs, including “Candy Cane Lane” and “Deck the Halls.”

Mayor Shawn Farmer led the lighting of the Christmas tree outside City Hall.

As the singing wrapped up, the crowd cleared the street in anticipation of the Lighting of the Night parade. Local businesses, organizations and residents went all out with float after float draped in Christmas lights and decorations. First responder vehicles flashed their lights. People riding in floats threw candy to the onlookers, and children scrambled to pick up the treats.

The Galt Youth Commission was among the groups participating, and the members recalled their experience at a meeting a couple of days later.

“I’ve never been in a parade before, and when I participated, it was my favorite thing in the world,” Commissioner Star Enriquez said on Dec. 6. “Favorite job ever, handing out candy.”

Farmer told the commissioners that the parade had received a record number of entries.

Once the final parade vehicles had passed, Janna Sartini spoke about the “sheer joy” of getting to watch the parade after it had been reformatted for social distancing in 2020.

“I was happy just to be back out here. It’s been a long time (since) we’ve gotten to sit down at the parade, and I just love the community aspect of it. There were a lot of really great participants. The lights were really great.”