New tree, same spirit - West Grove rings in the season
● By Richard Gaw
Another joyful visit to see Santa
For what seems like forever, those who attended the kick-off of the holiday season in West Grove would gather around the very large and pungent spruce tree adjacent to the town's municipal building and library, and from the top of its peak to its trunk, the tree was an annual spectacle of light.
Until this year.
Over time, the tree became a victim of its own vibrancy. After much deliberation, public works employees saw that the tree had reached a height so tall that it was beginning to tangle with telephone wires. After a small brush fire nearby damaged a portion of the tree earlier this year, the town's leaders decided that it was time to remove it and make way for a new tree, which they purchased from the Schmidt's Tree Farm in Landenberg and planted this past April.
On Dec. 4, before about 100 shivering but spirited carolers, town leaders and families, the new tree – standing proud at a little more than four feet – made its debut. As he cajoled those in attendance to count down to the official lighting of the tree, West Grove Mayor Stephen Black said, "It is small and yet it is mighty, and it will grow for decades to come."
As they waited for the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Kris Kringle, the audience joined in a chorus of carols led by musicians Eric Day and Anthony Zunino. After about three carols, however, the lights of the distant West Grove Fire Company vehicle came roaring into view, and at about 6:45, the Kringles stepped off the vehicle to a rousing greeting, as they were welcomed by Mayor Black to West Grove.
Resplendent in his signature red suit, the big, happy fellow led his wife and dozens of children to The Garage Community Youth Center down Rosehill Road, for a warm evening of community spirit...and holiday wish lists.