Cheerful sounds and the smell of hot apple cider filled Glen Stewart Park on Tuesday.
Neighbours joined Santa and a Salvation Army band in the Beach park to sing along to some holiday tunes and raise money for the Army at the 24th annual Caroling in the Park event.
“It’s a lot of fun to just have a nice time with my friends and my neighbours,” said Lucie De Lint, a young girl who has been coming to the event for several years with her family. “And you get to sing nice Christmas carols.”
It’s nice to see the whole neighbourhood around you.
—Lucie De Lint
Because everything at the event is donated, all the money raised goes directly to the Salvation Army, Caroling in the Park organizer David Breech said. He estimated a total of $1,500 to $2,000 was collected for the charity.
“It’s basically just a fun, easy community get-together to sing and have a good time,” Breech said. “And while you’re there, give some money to support the Salvation Army. Very simple, no politics. Just people coming together and having a good time.”
Breech has been helping organize the event since 1989, a year after Jim and Nancy Palmer put on the first one. He took over after the Palmers retired, he said.
The neighbourhood tradition is going strong, with hundreds of people in attendance, including some that like Breech have been involved for decades.
“This is actually the 24th year today that I’ve done it,” said Salvation Army band member Graham Moore, who played the euphonium. “I don’t know if I’ve been here for all of them, but I’ve been here for quite a few of them.”
For at least one other, Caroling in the Park is already a long-standing tradition, despite her young age.
“It’s nice to see the whole neighbourhood around you,” De Lint said.