100 gather for the lighting of county Christmas tree

Countdown, music mark renewal of local tradition

December 01, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Minutes before darkness fell last night on the County Office Building in Westminster, Carroll's commissioners called for a countdown to a show of brilliance.

"3-2-1," the crowd yelled.

Then the commissioners lighted the first Christmas tree to grace the office building in more than 30 years.

The 22-foot Douglas fir stands in the fountain pool at the front entrance to the building on Center Street. About 1,700 white lights decorate the tree, donated by Gail and John Terzano of Hampstead, who were in the crowd of about 100 spectators.

"We did a little research and found out we did have a tree in the early '70s," said Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge. "For some reason, the tradition stopped. This year, your office of county government has it back."

The Westminster West Middle School eighth-grade chorus lent a festive air to the ceremony with holiday tunes from Christian and Jewish traditions. The singers saved the liveliest song for last. They sang "Rockin' Down the Chimney Tonight," adding a little rock 'n' roll of their own.

Many county employees brought their children to the brief ceremony. Several lingered around the tree. Kyler Sunderland, 3, asked, "Where is the rest?"

Paige Sunderland, the county's business development manager, said her son was looking for decorations.

Those will come next year, Gouge said.

"We are hoping for another tradition -- to have schoolchildren make our ornaments," Gouge said.

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