State Rep. Cherelle Parker’s third annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony took over two blocks of Wadsworth Avenue in the Cedarbrook section of Philadelphia on Friday offering the hundreds who attended everything from free pizza to face painting to pictures with Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus.
Enon Tabernacle Church’s drum line and the Philadelphia Military Academy color guard opened the event and were followed up with performances from the Jenks Middle School Choir, Agape Children Community Choir, John McCloskey School, Lankenau High School, Oak Lane Wild Cats Cheerleaders, Eva Donaldson School Of Music and Wadsworth Avenue Carolers.
“This event is dear to me because this is a wonderful community,” Parker said. “In these tough economic times, we just want to find a way to encourage everyone.”
In addressing the crowd, Rev. Alyn E. Waller of Enon Tabernacle noted, “If we are going to change our community, we need to do it together. We are apart of the best section of the City. Northwest Philly is the heart of this city. Our community has come a long way, there aren’t people hanging on the corners, it’s clean, it’s nice and much of this area’s progression is due to Cherelle.”
Ninth District City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, state Rep. Vanessa Brown (190th district), long-time community leader Donald “Ducky” Birts and Wadsworth Avenue Business Association President Tom Pell were also in attendance.
Reacting to the free Christmas gifts given to children at the event, first-time attendee Elsie Clark of Mt. Airy said, “It’s very nice and my grandchildren are very happy to receive these gifts.”
For her part, Cassandra Wooten, also of Mt. Airy, appreciated the “chance for neighbors to interact and usher in the holiday spirit.”
The evening’s highlight, of course, was the 10-second countdown that ended with a tree sparking with white lights.
“This event is to inspire, connect, mentor and work with our children,” Parker said. “This is a symbolic event this year because despite any hardships, it’s still possible to have a happy holiday through tough times.”