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Tree lighting at Payrow Plaza

Large crowds came out to enjoy the 45-foot-tall tree lit up with 25,000 lights as Bethlehem held its annual tree lighting ceremony at Payrow Plaza last Friday.

New for this year was a Christmas chime trellis filled with Christmas ornaments and chimes to honor first responders. Touchstone Theatre, in partnership with the Ice House, displayed two giant lit up snow owl puppets to the crowd. In addition, numerous live performances were offered, along with complimentary warm cider provided by Zest Bethlehem and plenty of free hot chocolate and cookies for all. Beer sales were provided by Lost Tavern Brewing and wine sales by Franklin Hill Vineyards. Based on the crowd reaction it was clear that Bethlehem successfully kicked off the Christmas season.

Latrice Young, Larry Mason and Lisa Jordan of Touchstone Theatre are on hand to talk about the 24th annual Christmas City Follies show that takes place Dec. 1 to 22.
Bethlehem residents Brittany and her son, Benson, come out to enjoy the festive holiday ceremonies.
The Kingdom Kids of Second Baptist Church in Bethlehem are on hand to sing to the large crowd.
John Palchynsky and Helen Ponzi bringing holiday cheer and hand out free cookies to those in attendance.
Seth Witcher, an alternative rock/pop musical artist from Allentown, singing Christmas tunes. Seth was one of several acts to perform for the evening.
Lost Tavern Brewing from Hellertown provides beer sales. Lost Tavern opened its first taproom in Hellertown in 2016 with a second in Bethlehem in 2019.
Franklin Hill Vineyards provides wine sales, including mulled wine, which is often infused with fruit and spices and served warmed.
The Christmas chime trellis, with the Freedom HS Marching Band in the background, preparing for the evening's performance. The chime trellis was new for this year and featured hanging chimes and ornaments that honor local first responders.
Tammy Wendling, senior vice president of Bethlehem Initiatives/Bethlehem Chamber of Commerce, addresses the crowd.
Bethlehem Mayor - Bethlehem Mayor J William Reynolds speaks to the evening's attendees just prior to the large Christmas tree being lit up.
The Swing Time Dolls on the steps of the library performing their three-part harmonies to the festive holiday crowd.
Touchstone Theatre performers in partnership with the Ice House, carried around two giant snow owl puppets to the delight of onlookers.
Tree - The 45-foot-tall tree lights up the night sky to the awe of spectators.
PRESS PHOTOS BY MARK KIRLIN Payrow Plaza's center piece: A 45-foot-tall, 25-foot-wide Christmas tree that lights up the night sky with 25,000 bulbs. Our photo coverage continues on page A2.
Christmas Tree Bulbs - The large bulbs that adorn Bethlehem's Christmas tree. It's been estimated that 25,000 bulbs have been used for this year's tree.