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Memories Twinkle at East Norwalk Tree Lighting

Anthony Lametta and Haley Maldonado didn't belong on the stage Monday night. But nobody minded that they were there, given the family atmosphere of the Third Taking District's traditional tree lighting at Gov. Fitch Park.

The star of the show was the Marvin Elementary School chorus, of which Ashley Maldonado, 10, is a member. Her 8-year-old sister, Haley, wanted in on the action. Joan Skloot, leader of the chorus, found an extra set of lyrics for her. Anthony's entrance wasn't so formal: The 5-year-old climbed onto the stage and tried to sing along.

As the children sang "Silver Bells," snowflakes began to fall. Other musical entertainment was provided by the band Deju Vu. Sirens announced Santa's arrival, as a Norwalk fire truck rounded the curve by East Norwalk Cemetery with its lights flashing and Santa aboard.

About 150 people gathered in the cold to watch. Why? "Tradition," said Ann Sylvester, 32, who recalled attending the tree lighting as a child. The tradition continues with 4-year-old Daniel Sylvester. "He makes it much more fun because he loves coming," she said.

Anthony's father, Adam Lametta, 30, called himself a "true East Norwalker." Like Sylvester, he said he had been attending the annual tree lighting all his life.

Anita Hughes said she doesn't make it to many tree lightings because of her work schedule. If the lighting had happened Sunday night, she wouldn't have made it. So the rain delay of a day worked in her favor. "This is great," she said.

Skloot teaches at Marvin but lives in Westchester County, N.Y. She didn't mind staying late. "As a teacher at Marvin Elementary School, I'm part of a community," she said. "This is a community event, all the children are here. ...I was happy to partake in something the community enjoys. It looks like there's a huge turnout, considering it's so cold."

Do you have any family traditions at Christmas? Is there an event you never miss?

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