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Updated Wednesday, April 29, 2015 at 3 PM EST
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Above, Ethan Chunn talking with Santa Claus during the Ray Township tree lighting. Below top, From left, Samieh Emiah, Kayla Christoff and Nancy Paige with Santa during the Ray Township tree lighting. Below bottom, raffle winners Carl and Jan Dempsey holding the painting by Helen Bohm during the Ray Township tree lighting.
(Observer photos by Karen Ranoni)
Ray goes after Christmas
magic during tree lighting
by KAREN RANONIHundreds of Ray Township residents turned out to watch Santa light the township tree, kicking off the Christmas season with a night packed with holiday fun.
Observer Special Writer
The event was held last Wednesday night at the Ray Township Municipal Building on Wolcott Road.
Township Supervisor Charlie Bohm said he and many others joined forces with Joyce Oliver, Ray Township recreation director and event coordinator at RWB Parks & Recreation, and Ray Township recreation director, to make the 12th annual tree lighting ceremony a night to remember.
"We partner with the Lions Club, The Historical Society, the local fire department and many others to make this event the best it can be," said Bohm, who has been at the helm in Ray for the past 12 years. "The turnout has always been big for this event and this year is no exception."
The event offered horse drawn wagon rides, free cookies, coffee and cider. The Lions Club gave each child a blue toy truck along with gift bags. The Ray Township Lions Club, with its 22 members, raised $17,000 in donations throughout the year. That money was used to help local families, said Eugene Dehondt, local Lions Club member.
"Nothing makes me happier than raising money for the kids; look how happy they are," he said.
The Ray Township Fire Department was also joining in on the spirit of giving as they handed out stickers and Christmas tree goodies next to the indoor Christmas tree.
There was something there for everyone, including a meet and greet with Santa Claus. Children lined up out the door trying patiently to wait their turn with Santa, who took extra time with each child to find out exactly what they had on their Christmas wish lists.
One of the many raffle gifts that was given away during the event was a framed painting of a Civil War re-enactment that was hand painted by Helen Bohm, the supervisor's wife.
Carl and Jan Dempsey of Ray Township were elated to be the winners and described Bohm's work as "exquisite."
"We start preparing for this night the first week of October, the kids love it and we know the community looks forward to this annual tradition," said Oliver. "Santa lit the tree with his Christmas magic and the help of the community."