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Community members - and Santa - share the fun at the Vermont Veterans Home tree-lighting. (Peter Crabtree)
Community members - and Santa - share the fun at the Vermont Veterans Home tree-lighting. (Peter Crabtree)
Community members - and Santa - share the fun at the Vermont Veterans Home tree-lighting. (Peter Crabtree)

BENNINGTON -- Town Manager Stuart Hurd and a very special guest were on hand for the Vermont Veteran's Home's annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony on Wednesday.

The colors were presented by the American Legion Post 13's color guard to begin the ceremony. The home's chaplain then blessed the tree, and the onlookers, who were huddled in and around the gazebo on the home's front lawn. The Mount Anthony Union High School choir was in attendance as well, and invited everyone to sing along as they performed "White Christmas" and "Deck the Halls." After their performance, Bennington Town Manager Stuart Hurd said a few words, speaking about how he considered the event to be "the community tree lighting." The home's administrator, Melissa Jackson, introduced veteran Ed Gray, who pressed the button that illuminated the Christmas tree.

Jackson then turned the show back over to the MAUHS choir, saying, "If we sing really loud, Santa might show up!" However, after a singing of "Winter Wonderland," Santa had still not arrived. Not worried, the choir began singing "Jingle Bells," which seemed to do the trick, as a few moments later, Santa Claus himself arrived at the ceremony.

Shaking hands with each of the veterans in attendance, Santa also took the time to address the high schoolers in the chorus, imparting the advice, "Study hard, and stay in school!"

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at dcarson@benningtonbanner.com.Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB