Downtown Mountain View filled with cheers last evening as the string lights wrapped around the branches of a tree in front of city hall flicked on. Nearby, a group of children squealed as their turn to meet Santa came closer. On a stage set up at the corner of Castro and Mercy streets, the Miramonte School Handbell Choir rang a holiday tune out into the chilly night.
The Dec. 5 festivities were all part of Mountain View’s annual Community Tree Lighting celebration, an event that has only grown in size and popularity since the pandemic, said Recreation Manager Kristine Crosby. She’s worked with the city and helped put the event on for the past four years, but has lived in Mountain View and attended the annual tradition for the past 14, she told the Voice as she worked the event.
“Since the pandemic, our enrollment at events has skyrocketed,” Crosby said. “People really want to gather again.”
With the tree lighting now an all-outdoors event, Crosby said last year was the first time the city closed down additional blocks of Castro Street, plus a portion of Mercy Street, to expand the tradition into the streets. This year, the street closure made way for a “Holidays Around the World” train ride that proved very popular with the little ones.
“It was such a success last year that we did it again,” Crosby said of the street closure.
Jennifer and Steve Chan brought their two young children to the event with one goal in mind: see Santa Claus. After accomplishing that, the family took some photos in front of the now-lit tree.
Jennifer said she appreciated the street closures as well as the permanent pedestrian mall on Castro.
“It’s really accessible for the kiddos,” she said.
Click through the slideshow to see kids and adults alike enjoying some holiday cheer at the Mountain View tree lighting last night: