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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Lights, songs and Santa steal the show at annual Christmas tree lighting

UPDATED: Fri., Nov. 17, 2017

Singing a medley of carols at the base of a 50-foot Christmas tree, the Christian Youth Theater’s quartet evoked the yuletide spirit of hundreds at Riverpark Square on Friday night.

Ol’ St. Nick provided the theatrics.

The mall’s annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony was coupled with a drop-in from Santa Claus, who, at one moment could be seen ho-ho-hoing high on the second floor before appearing among the crowd in the lobby.

“Then Santa just appeared,” 9-year-old Brendan Reynolds said in amazement.

His 6-year-old sister Keira, wearing the same paper Reindeer hat as her brother, turned to her mother with an observation of her own.

“Santa really is real, mom,” she said.

Before Santa, whose reindeer and faithful elves also made appearances at the mall, sat down to take pictures and hear the gift requests of dozens of excited children, he spent some time mingling with the crowd, exchanging high-fives with adults and kids alike..

The sizable Christmas tree, put together by the Spokane Fire Department, featured bowling-bowl sized ornaments and giant candy canes and lights.

The elves stoked anticipation of the lighting, which coincided with Santa’s arrival and the cheers of the Christmas-ready patrons.

Collin Smoll, a 16-year-old member of the CYT quartet, could be seen mouthing the lyrics to “Mr. Grinch” as he stood near the Santa-greeting line.

Smoll, who participated with such classics as Winter Wonderland, Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph, said he relished the experience.

“The event itself is massive, I think this is the largest audience we’ve ever performed for,” he said.

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