CEDAR CITY — Hundreds of people filled the streets of Cedar City on Saturday to welcome Santa Claus to town and usher in the holiday season.

Fiddlers Canyon Elementary School students perform during Cedar City’s downtown holiday lighting celebration, Cedar City, Utah, Nov. 25, 2023 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Ladies and gentlemen, the Christmas season has officially begun,” proclaimed event cohost Ben Batty as a dazzling fireworks display put an exclamation point on the festivities.

Earlier in the day, Christmas Market vendors sold their products at booths and food trucks. Also available were children’s crafts, choo-choo train rides and free hot chocolate.

A holiday tree jubilee was on display at Heritage Theater, while the Cedar City Council chambers hosted a Christmas photography show.

Shortly after 5 p.m, Cedar City Mayor Garth O. Green kicked off the hourlong entertainment program with a brief welcome speech that touched on the sprit of the holidays and waxed nostalgic about the five-and-dime stores of yesteryear.

Among the highlights of the musical program that followed were performances by vocalist Sydney Rasmussen, violinist Russell Nielson, multiple dancing numbers choreographed by Mic Thompson, and rousing renditions of “Frosty the Snowman” and “Jingle Bell Rock” by a group of Fiddlers Canyon Elementary School students.

Then, just as the skies were getting dark, an SUU Aviation helicopter carrying Santa Claus landed on Main Street a block or so south of the crowd. Shortly after Santa walked up and took the stage, a countdown was given to signal the switching on of the overhead arrays of lights suspended above those sections of Main and Center streets, followed by the fireworks.

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