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Temperatures fit for North Pole chill Brasher tree lighting ceremony

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BRASHER FALLS - A nippy Friday night with temperatures hovering around 0 degrees couldn’t keep Santa Claus away from the seventh annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

But it did keep down the number of folks who braved the chill to watch the tree turn an assortment of colors with the flip of a switch and enjoyed some warming entertainment at Crapser Hall.

The cold - the electronic sign at the American Legion said 3 degrees - couldn’t deter the Jolly Old Elf.

“This is what they call summer in the North Pole,” he quipped as he waited for Town Supervisor M. James Dawson to officially light the tree at the Brasher Municipal Building.

The ceremony didn’t include just a tree lighting though. It was also an opportunity to recognize a community member, a tradition that started last year when Norval Bennett was cited for his community efforts.

This year’s lighting was dedicated to Town Clerk Ellen Fukes, who Mr. Dawson said “has done so much work for the Brasher and Tri-Town area.”

Following the tree lighting, the crowd moved to Crapser Hall, where Santa took a spot in a comfy chair and listened to the wish lists from youngsters.

Kimberly Russell, aka Daisy the Clown, was busy painting children’s faces as they held onto a rubber chicken. That, she said, kept them from touching their face during the process.

The Tri-Town Entertainers were also on hand to provide music both at the tree lighting and again in Crapser Hall. As they stood by the outdoor tree, they began their selections with “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas.” And as the lights illuminated, the crowd heard them singing “O Christmas Tree.”

With Kathy Kirschner at the keyboard, they continued inside Crapser Hall with traditional holiday tunes that included “Jingle Bells,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “Frosty the Snowman,” “Nuttin’ for Christmas,” “Silent Night,” and “Joy to the World.”

Joe Durant said they formed the Tri-Town Entertainers four years ago. He and Don McKeel had been part of the St. Lawrence Entertainers, performing in Canada for six or seven years,.

“It was Don’s idea. He said we should have it on the U.S. side,” Mr. Durant recalled.

The group consists of between 10 and 12 members.

“We’re at 10 or 11 right now,” Mr. Durant said.

The volunteer singers entertain at a number of venues, including LBSH Housing, the St. Regis Falls Senior Center, the Highland and St. Regis nursing homes and Laurel Terrace in Massena.

As they entertained Friday night, the Quad Town Lions Club was on hand to serve hot chocolate, and Christmas carols were being sung at the Tri-Town Rescue Squad building, where they provided popcorn to snack on.

Youngsters who weren’t sitting on Santa’s lap or holding the rubber chicken while Daisy the Clown painted their faces were at a craft table making Christmas ornaments.

The St. Lawrence Central Class of 2014 was also on hand, selling 50/50 tickets to support the all-night graduation party, and a drawing would be held later in the evening to award four bicycles and two snow sleds to lucky youngsters.

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